Credit: US Embassy Canada

Katie Heeps

Glasgow City FC made a powerful statement this month about the coverage of women’s sport through their new away strip which will now feature the phrase, “You can’t be what you can’t see”, in reference to the lack of media coverage for female athletes.

It is co-founder and club manager of Glasgow City Laura Montgomery’s belief that seeing other women achieving and building a career as a professional athlete will give young girls interested in sport something to aim for.

When the club was founded in 1998, they were initially “ridiculed and mocked”, yet 19 years later they are the most successful Scottish women’s football team of all time.

The team have won the Scottish Women’s Premier League title 10 years in a row, beating the record of nine years in a row set by Celtic and Rangers Men’s Team. In 2014, they became the first Scottish Women’s team to the reach the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Women’s Championship League.

Manager and co-founder Laura Montgomery stated: “Every single youth player that we have absolutely idolizes all our first team players and that’s because they want to be what they can see.” Now they are taking this message to the next level.

Their mission is to encourage young girls to pursue their passions, whatever they may be.

Montgomery stated in a Tedx Talk in 2014: “Quite simply you can’t be what you can’t see without visible role models.

“How do girls grow up thinking they can be anything other than sexualised objects, which is how the media currently portrays women.”

Following the 2012 Olympics, 750,000 adults took up team sports; 500,000 of which were women. Yet in the year following the London Olympics, coverage of women’s sports decreased. Statistics from Women In Sport 2015 suggested that only 7% of all sports coverage in the UK media is of women’s sports and consequently they receive only 0.4% of the commercial funding from reported UK sponsorship deals in sport.