Women in Commentary - We Need More of Them

In honour of International Women’s Day this weekend, Martyn Lawrence writes about why we need more women’s voices in the commentary box. 

Sports commentary has traditionally been a industry where men have got the majority of on air broadcast roles but occasionally we get to see a very talented woman in front of the television cameras. 

Going back to the 80s and 90s we saw Debbie Spillane on the sideline for the rugby league coverage on the ABC. 

From a AFL point of view Christi Malthouse was famous for her work as a boundary reporter for channel 10

Up in the commentary box up until recently there has been very few women who have been a play by play commentator however in cricket in recent years there are several very talented women who are now in very high profile roles, Alison Mitchell Mel Jones and Isa Guha to name just 3 very talented people who are having 3 very successful commentary careers.

Kelli Underwood is the only female play by play commentator who has called a game of AFL football on television, she called games for channel 10 in 2009 and 2010. Underwood now is now the main AFLW commentator for fox footy, Kelli is also a boundary reporter and host during the AFL season as well as calling games for ABC radio. 

I would like to see more female commentators in the AFL. If you have been listening to the channel 7 coverage of the AFLW you might have heard a new voice, her name is Jo Wotton. I honestly don’t know much about Jo or her career up until now but I wish her all the best of luck for her career on television and radio. 

To the best of my knowledge there has never been a female play by play commentator in the history of the NRL, I sincerely hope that changes one day 

Both major Australia winter football codes need more female voices in the commentary box. We have plenty of excellent journalists in both sports but hopefully we will see more commentators in years to come.

Martyn Lawrence