Judge the person for who they are, not because they’re female or male


When I was a young girl I wanted to be the Liverpool manager when I grew up – please don’t laugh, I was after all, just a child. As I got older I loved giving my opinion on soccer, GAA and rugby matches so I decided I wanted to go into sports broadcasting/journalism. I never once thought of myself going into a career that was dominated by males.

Maybe it was the way I was brought up but I never thought of myself as being different because I was a girl; I done everything my brother did except join the boy scouts, although I did try. The girls guides back then were not as adventurous as the scouts.

The other day I saw a post on social media about Hope Solo’s appearance on RTE’s coverage of the World Cup. In case some of you don’t know who Hope Solo is, she is a former United States goalkeeper. Yes a former player like Damien Duff, Keith Andrews, Didi Hamann but the big difference is, she is a woman.

It’s 2018 and people were surprised that women are now only getting punditry roles and some were amazed that a woman knew her stuff. Eh, being male or female doesn’t make your opinion seem better than others.

Joanne Cantwell is another person whose name was in the media a few months back when it was announced she would take over from Michael Lyster next year as The Sunday Game anchor. The big thing of course is that she is female. I’m sure Joanne would like to be known as a presenter, not a ‘female presenter’. That is my pet hate. I know I’m female, I don’t need to be told.

When I’m out working I want people to look at me and treat me as a person, no differently than a male journalist. I have to say managers and players have been terrific since I started. I remember years ago I was standing waiting outside the Longford Town dressing room with other journalists, some of the language from the players was choice and one apologised because “there was a woman outside”. One of the lads replied “sure that’s only Deniese.” And that’s exactly who I am.

There is a lot of work being put into women’s sports and getting more women involved in sport but more needs to be done. Last year the Irish Women’s soccer team and the Irish women’s rugby teams came out and spoke about the shambolic way they were treated by their organisations. If women don’t get treated right they won’t want to play.

Sportswomen don’t have a huge list of demands but they do want to be respected and treated equally to their male counterparts. Surely that isn’t too much to ask.

While I’m on the topic of women in sport I want to congratulate TG4 on their new 4 year sponsorship deal with the LGFA. In 2020 the station will celebrate 20 years of sponsoring the championship. Their coverage is second to none when it comes to Ladies GAA and long may it continue. That coverage is in part why Ladies GAA is on the rise.

One of the best quotes I’ve read is from the surfer Bethany Hamilton: “Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.”