Sports

'Change the Game' panel dissects progress of women's leadership in sport

League1 Ontario commissioner Carmelina Moscato, Canadian national soccer team member Desiree Scott, Canadian Olympic track and field athlete Khamica Bingham, and play-by-play broadcaster Meghan McPeak join CBC Sports' Andi Petrillo in discussing the importance of leadership in sport for women.

CBC Sports host Andi Petrillo leads discussion about gender diversity in athletics

Carmelina Moscato, top centre, was joined by former teammate and current Canadian national women's soccer team member Desiree Scott, bottom centre, for the 'Change the Game' panel aimed at supportive leadership in sport for women. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

A lack of representation for women in sport and leadership roles wasn't going to stop Carmelina Moscato.

The former Canadian national soccer team star and Olympic bronze medallist has led the charge to build the professional game for Canadian women.

Among many leadership roles within Canada Soccer, Moscato serves as commissioner of the League1 Ontario Women's Division and aims to be responsible for creating pro opportunities for female players within the league.

"I never felt intimidated by the opportunities and I always felt there was something to prove," said Moscato, who joined the 'Change the Game' panel hosted by CBC Sports' Andi Petrillo. "To show I definitely can and women can.

WATCH | Desiree Scott: "We need to educate women on what's available":

Desiree Scott: 'We need to educate women on what's available'

7 months ago
1:56
Desiree Scott, 2-time Olympic bronze medallist with the Canadian women's soccer team says women are just as capable to fill roles in sports as men. 1:56

"If somebody is talking about soccer in the men's game, it's soccer and you're not going to outsmart me in that. This has to normalize, [women] can't be the minority in a room."

Canadian national soccer team member Desiree Scott, Canadian Olympic track and field athlete Khamica Bingham, and play-by-play broadcaster Meghan McPeak completed the panel group discussing supportive leadership in sport for women.

WATCH | Khamica Bingham on improving leadership at all levels:

Khamica Bingham on improving leadership at all levels

7 months ago
1:52
Khamica Bingham, Pan Am Games bronze medallist with the Canadian women's 4x100m relay team, says having more women in places of power is necessary. 1:52

ESPN analyst Doris Burke made history this summer becoming the first woman to call NBA conference finals and NBA finals games.

Although another milestone was made for professional women in sport this year, McPeak believes that shouldn't be the case.

"It's 2020, we should not be making firsts," said McPeak, who calls games for both the WNBA's Washington Mystics and the Capital City Gogo, the G League affiliate of the Washington Wizards.

"Knowing my job and what I do with the NBA umbrella, we still don't have a full-time female play-by-play announcer, which is crazy to me."

Elevating women into leadership roles

For Scott, a two-time soccer bronze medallist, awareness is a key issue for promoting current athletes into leadership roles.

"We need to educate more on what's available," Scott said. "We're just as capable of filling those roles and just as passionate. It's about encouragement and the knowledge of seeing it.

WATCH | "I've never felt intimidated by opportunities," says Carmelina Moscato:

Carmelina Moscato: 'I've never felt intimidated by opportunities'

7 months ago
1:25
Carmelina Moscato, Olympic bronze medallist with the Canadian women's soccer team, encourages women to show they're capable of handling any situation. 1:25

"You start to think about the potential for you as a woman."

Only 28 per cent of women fill athletic director roles in post-secondary institutions in Canada. At the U Sports level, just three per cent of women have coaching roles on the men's side as compared to 26 per cent on the women's.

'It also falls on media coverage'

Bingham, who represented Canada in track and field at the Rio 2016 Games, believes having a larger number of women in leadership roles affects more than just today's current generation of athlete.

"I think if we have more women in positions of power you get different perspectives," Bingham said. "You're going to have a lot more athletes who are more comfortable and happy in an environment, who are going to stay there.

"We can increase the participation for female athletes."

WATCH | Meghan McPeak on women working in sports broadcasting:

Meghan McPeak on women working in sports broadcasting positions

7 months ago
1:31
Meghan McPeak, play-by-play announcer of the WNBA's Washington Mystics, says the industry is making strides but there's still work to be done. 1:31

The 26-year-old believes increased media attention on women's athletics could be consequential in achieving balance.

"It also falls on media coverage — we need more coverage in women's sports," the sprinter said. "In track and field we're so quick to know who the fastest man in the world is. When it comes to the female side it isn't the same. If we have more people understand our stories and be role models to young girls, it could make a difference."

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