People and Places

Evening the score — Carleton Ravens basketball star Heather Lindsay on lack of coverage for women’s sports

It was the morning after the Carleton Ravens’ women’s basketball team had tied a provincial record. Star centre Heather Lindsay awoke looking forward to reading a recap of the historic win in the local paper. Seeing nothing, Lindsay voiced her discontent on Twitter: “A whole page spread in the paper on the men’s game & nothing about the women. It’s a setback for women’s sports.”

Describe the feeling in the locker room after the historic win was not covered by the media. Were you alone in your discontent?

We have a bond that you can’t explain, and we had so many fans out at the game and so many supporters that a lot of us were upset by the lack of coverage compared to the men’s team. We had that goal in mind, and we assumed that once we achieved it, we would get equal coverage, and it was really unfortunate that even the local media didn’t cover it. Honestly, it was really disparaging, but I think what bothers people the most is just the inequality of it. Part of the message that I don’t want to get lost is that I wasn’t looking for more attention for our team. I understand that if people don’t want to read it, then don’t publish it, but we had so many fans and supporters that came to us after and they were upset about it. It is something that people want to read and it is hard for teams when we should be equal and we’re not seen that way.

Photography: Ben Welland - byfield-pitman photography
Photography: Ben Welland – byfield-pitman photography

What does equality look like to you?

There were years where we would win a game and the whole story would be about the men’s team losing — just stuff like that where it’s just not fair at all. There aren’t as many followers of women’s sports, but that is changing and women are supporting each other, which is really important, and that’s the next step in all of this. I don’t know exactly what I want to achieve, but I definitely think that the amount of representation needs to change and that there need to be more female influencers in the sports world. I think it’s so important for little girls to see us working as a unit.

Related: US tennis star, Serena Williams, fights back against sexism on the court

Heather Lindsay. Photo: Photography: Ben Welland - byfield-pitman photography
Heather Lindsay. Photography: Ben Welland – byfield-pitman photography

What type of precedent do you think you and your team set for the next
generation of leaders?

A lot of it is just committing to whatever you want to do and actually following it. There need to be more leaders and more girls growing up with confidence and being able to go out and play sports against the boys.

What’s next for your career?

I just committed to a pro team in Germany. 

Part of the reason I committed to the team is they said that they’re very community oriented — they help out with young girls, and they make a community within the basketball program. When I do end up moving back to Ottawa, I would love to coach and become more of an influencer, as there weren’t a lot of female role models in my younger years.  

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