Women’s Sports: Do Sportswomen even write books?

GMS Books

You walk into the Waterstones next to Piccadilly Circus, scan around and see a display of Sportspeople’s autobiographies, around 50 in total; what strikes you most is not the same Sir Alex Ferguson book that was released six years ago, but rather the clear and obvious absence of any female representation on the show.

This is exactly what happened to Chris Brown, an assistant producer at Trans World Sport. “I just saw about 50 books on the display table, had a quick look on both sides and noticed they were all male,” he told GiveMeSport. 

In a year which has seen women’s sport grow exponentially, with attendances at the Solheim Cup and the Netball World Cup reaching record numbers, why is it that Sportswomen are still failing to be showcased?

You look at the books on show in this photo. A subjective comparison of who is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Mike Tyson ‘The Undisputed Truth.” Not to ridicule these books too much, but if these take centre stage on a Waterstones display then surely it must speak volumes about the amount of women’s material readily available?

The obvious defence of Waterstones in this instance is that the books on the show are bestselling and are advertised in this fashion to reflect the demand from consumers. The problem with this logic, however, is the inability for women’s autobiographies to ever be marketed in the first place. If you type “Sportswomen autobiographies” into Amazon, an abundance of male athletes- Mike Tyson, Boris Becker, Tyson Fury all appear on the first page of search results.

Is this because there is a lack of Sportswomen writing about their careers, quite possibly? Is there enough to successfully promote on the first page of an Amazon search, most definitely. Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey and Nicola Adams are just a handful of world-renowned athletes I searched on Google and found had autobiographies. As Brown says ‘Why does Michael Carrick deserve more prominence than Serena Williams?’ The answer, he doesn’t.

Waterstones is the number one bookseller in the United Kingdom. Perhaps they can be forgiven on this occasion for making an honest mistake. Perhaps their logic was based on data and which books have sold the most copies. Perhaps there has been a lack of Sportswomen autobiographies this year. Yet, even if we give the benefit of the doubt in all of these circumstances, it is evident that something has to change and it has to change fast. 

GMS Books
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