These Hard-Hitting Unesco Radio Ads Highlight Sexism Against Female Athletes

World Radio Day Campaign by BETC Calls for Equal Treatment for Women in Sport

Published On
Feb 09, 2018

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Unesco is highlighting the prejudice and abuse that female athletes can receive in a series of hard-hitting radio ads made to coincide with both World Radio Day and the Winter Olympics in South Korea,

The ads, by BETC Paris, available right-free for broadcast stations around the world, aired on World Radio Day on Feb. 13. Some are written in the style of diaries, narrated by little girls who imagine their dreams of being a top athletes. For example, one is voiced by a girl who loves swimming and describes her dream of training to be a champion swimmer. She has to sacrifice plenty of things along the way, but just when she succeeds and is breaking a world record, the narrative suddenly cuts to a male sports commentator saying: "And I gotta say, she sure looks great in that bathing suit." In another ad, which can be heard here, a little girl imagines becoming a high jumper, and competing in Madrid in 2030. As she is describing her winning jump, the commentary cuts in with: "She sure jumps high for such a big girl."

Other ads contrast the experiences of a male and a female athlete, both of whom simultaneously describe taking part in the same event, but with totally different language. All the radio ads can be heard here.

According to the agency, the ads are inspired by real-life moments from sports commentary. David Martin Angelus, creative director at BETC Paris, says in a statement: "I can't imagine fighting your whole life for something to later be objectified, insulted or straight out ignored. It's not fair. We owe our women athletes better coverage in the media."