Meet The NYC Fourth Grader Asking ESPN For Change
By Kate Bennett
Olivia Rosenblum, a fourth-grader from New York, is pushing for more coverage of women’s sports because she is already keenly aware that it is hard to be involved with the game you love if you can’t watch your idols play.
Olivia created a petition to urge ESPN to devote at least 30 percent of its coverage to women’s sports. In her earnest petition on Change.org, she points out that men receive an astounding 95.5 percent of ESPN’s air time, while women receive only 2 percent.
She suggests that amount be increased to at least 30%, and lists some good reasons why:
First, because so few women’s sporting events are shown on television, people never see many exciting, competitive games. Audiences don’t even know what they are missing out on, and some girls never even get the chance to realize they are interested in sports. More women’s games on TV means more chances for girls like Olivia to see they can play sports.
Olivia points out that these women are unbelievable competitors that deserve the same support and attention as the men’s team receives. Encouragingly, women’s sports have seen an explosive growth in viewership. Following in the success of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, more people than ever watched the National Women’s Soccer League in 2020. The number of people watching the WNBA Finals also increased 34 percent in 2020.
Clearly, the world is ready and waiting to see their favorite female athletes perform. Broadcasting networks should be hurrying to meet their demand.
Finally, representation matters. Players like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan—two of Olivia’s favorites—give young girls a great image to look up to in sports. If people do not see girls working hard and winning, it is easy to assume they don’t.
“Many people see women as less strong, and women’s sports as less entertaining in part because they receive less air time, ESPN and other media outlets have a responsibility to disrupt these damaging gender stereotypes,” Olivia said in her petition.
Help support Olivia and all girls who need to see their role models in sports, by signing her petition here.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock (header); article photo courtesy of Olivia Rosenblum and family