06/01/2014

Hire The Right Candidate. Male Or Female.

The number of female sports journalists is incredibly low in comparison to their male counterparts. A fact that everyone is aware of. This article is written to demonstrate that it is not necessarily a problem.

The low number of female sports journalists only becomes a problem, if that number is limited because of sexism within the industry. That number is only negative if it is because women are not accepted as sports journalists.
Right man? Or woman?
The truth is, while some women dream of writing about football, and are explosively passionate about the beautiful game - not every woman is.  Some women dream of other jobs, such as a career in law, or medicine, or education.

If a woman wants to become a sports journalist, or more specifically a football journalist, she can. She will be accepted onto NCTJ courses, she will not be denied press passes, and she can be employed to write about the game.

Understandably, in a generation where companies are determined to present themselves as diverse, women are being hired as football journalists, or as football broadcasters. This is brilliant, provided the female is a capable candidate. What this article is trying to demonstrate, is that positive discrimination towards women is categorically NOT the way forward.

With the increase of quotas, and the rising fear of being labelled as discriminative, companies are trying their hardest to recruit women into football journalism. What these companies should not be doing, is hiring a woman simply because she is a woman. For example, one large corporation offer a course specifically for women to be trained as sports journalists. Part of the criteria stated that the applicant need not have any experience in the field, but must be enthusiastic.

Not only is this rather patronising, but it is completely absurd. Why should an inexperienced yet enthusiastic female be accepted onto a course into an industry which is not only overpopulated but ridiculously difficult to succeed, if her male counterparts have to produce a portfolio of work before they get a step onto the ladder?

While the intention may be to demonstrate that the industry is not sexist or discriminative to females, or to encourage females who perhaps feel they will not be accepted into the industry, it is not actually very beneficial.

First and foremost, as pointed out before, the number of women in comparison to men who actually love football and want to pursue a career in it, is lower, and that is not a problem. Secondly, hiring a female to talk about football, because the company feels they need to be more diverse is ignorant and detrimental. Just like a company should hire a male for their ability to discuss or write about football, a company should only hire a female who is equally capable of this.

By hiring a woman who can speak a little bit about football and is enthusiastic, but is not the most knowledgeable applicant nor experienced, only fuels the Neanderthal idea that women have no place in football. It means the other hardworking, incredibly talented females in the industry are tarred with the same brush.

Generally, many established female football journalists in the industry would detest the idea that they had been hired due to their gender. Most would like to know that they had been hired due to their ability to do the job.

Similarly to hiring women in these circumstances, some publications have launched almost recruitment like drives in an attempt to encourage women to get involved in the industry. It seems odd to single women out in an attempt to diversify the industry. When there are no restrictions in place for women in the industry, in that they are able to do exactly the same thing as men, or where they are not restricted in their rights, would it not make more sense that perhaps, the low number of female sports journalists is actually influenced by it not being a job that a majority of women are interested in?

If a female wants to work in football, then of course she is rightfully entitled to the same opportunities as males, and if this right is breached, then yes this becomes a problem. But if the industry wants to successfully increase the number of females, hiring women for the sake of it, will only prolong this situation.

If in a pool of applicants to a job, only one woman applies alongside four males, if she is the best suited candidate then she should be hired, without a doubt. If she is the weakest candidate, she most certainly should not be hired simply to diversify the company.

In essence, a company should be hiring the right candidate for the job. The person who is going to perform the best for the company, and succeed and progress the most. By hiring that way, the gender of the applicant should be completely irrelevant.

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