Minister's call to broadcasters over women's sport

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Jessica Ennis
Image caption,
Heptathlete Jessica Ennis was one of the female stars of the Olympic Games

New Culture Secretary Maria Miller has written to broadcasters urging them not to cut their coverage of women's sport now London 2012 is over.

Mrs Miller said the success of Team GB's female athletes had been truly inspirational.

The huge TV audiences showed the public had a real appetite for mainstream coverage of women's sport, she added.

The BBC said it had a comprehensive portfolio of women's sport and always looked at how to increase coverage.

Mrs Miller is the minister for women and equalities as well as Culture Media and Sport Secretary.

She said the British media did a fantastic job over the past few weeks championing the achievements of Jessica Ennis, Ellie Simmonds and other young women whom she said were powerful role models vital to delivering a sports legacy from the Olympics and Paralympics.

'Broadcasting legacy'

But she told broadcasters that, outside the Games, women's sport had been "woefully under represented on television", with women's cricket, football and netball "buried pretty deep in the schedules, if shown at all".

The minister wants to meet broadcasters to discuss how the momentum from London 2012 can be maintained.

Mrs Miller wrote: "I realise there are considerable pressures on your schedules but I would be most grateful if we could perhaps meet to discuss how women's sports coverage can get more profile in the mainstream, helping to build a real broadcasting legacy from the Games."

Among the highlights of the Olympics was Jessica Ennis winning heptathlon gold on "Super Saturday" for Team GB's athletics team.

Some 16.3 million people tuned in for that, while there was a television audience of 11.3 million for Rebecca Adlington's bronze medal in the 800m freestyle swimming.

Mrs Miller's plea comes nine months after the BBC came under fire when its annual Sports Personality of the Year award did not include any women among its 10-strong shortlist.

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