Euro 2013 taking place in Sweden
11 July ~ Sexism, especially sexism in sport, has been at the top of the news agenda pretty solidly since the Olympics last summer. "Isn't it terrible?" everybody says, wagging their fingers. Something ought to be done, they nod. "Get rid of John Inverdale!" comes the cry. There was some hope that London 2012 had been a turning point, the success of Britain's women forcing progress where common sense and decency had struggled. Yet still it goes on. On Wednesday the women's European Championship finals kicked off in Sweden.
This is no bloated international gathering but a taut, 12-team competition with a handful of genuine contenders, including England. The BBC are showing games live, as are Eurosport. Some of the newspapers carried quotes from the England coach, Hope Powell, and her captain, Casey Stoney, but the tournament may be news to users of the Sky Sports app, since the fixtures section makes no mention of the tournament at all. Great Yarmouth Town's friendly against Dagenham & Redbridge? Got it covered. Euro 2013 Group A opener Sweden v Denmark? Don't be daft.
When one upset England supporter contacted Sky to complain, she was met with what has become the standard response whenever anybody asks why women's football is being ignored – essentially, they tried it and the demand isn't there to justify the effort. This is nonsense: if you never, rarely or for only a short period supply something, you have learned nothing about the demand but possibly a great deal about the contempt in which your coverage deserves to be held. Somehow a lack of traffic to results from the nascent FA Women's Super League had precipitated the decision to ignore – and according to correspondence it was a decision, not an oversight – a major international tournament.
Only when our disgruntled England fan mentioned contacting news outlets did Sky's stance soften – then, they assured her, they were seeing what they could do. The contract with the data provider could be the problem. I'd like to see them try that next time they don't bother reporting the results from the men's Euros.
That, of course, is unthinkable. But I doubt this will be the last time that women's football is casually ignored, even at the highest level. And even by people and organisations who would insist that some of their best friends have, you know, women's bits. The Guardian's live scores page told me on Wednesday evening: "There are no matches being played today."
I have pointed it out to them, just as I reminded the sports writer who tweeted on Wednesday morning: "Anyone who tweets about football today seriously ought to get a life." Let's be generous here – he was clearly excited about the start of the Ashes, and let's also assume that when he later admitted the claims of cycling and boxing, he had unfortunately missed my tweet about Euro 2013. Still, he and others are talking about "football" the way that Inverdale and co have been caught talking about "British tennis" – women don't count. Georgina Turner