Thursday 1 December 2011

Place your bets for the inaugural William Hill Sportswoman of the Year Award

Out of its longstanding commitment to women's rights, female emancipation, the elimination of cultural femicide and human rights issues generally, betmakers William Hill have created a female alternative to the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year, which this year features a 10 man, 0 woman line-up despite many women athlete's great achievements in 2011. To compile its list, the BBC asked 27 sports editors, the overhwelming majority of whom are men, for their nominations. Despite women's excellence this year, all the editors (which included sexist mags Nuts and Zoo) submitted lists in which women were heavily outnumbered; more than a third (10) gave all male lists. The Guardian has covered this extensively and excellently here, here, herehere - in a great piece by Andy Bull, here by Jane Martinson and here, where the BBC defends itself against formal complaints by women MPs and points out that in the past, "at least two women have always previously been shortlisted for the main award." Yes! At least 20%. Be thankful for that ladies (and quit yo' moaning). Anyone interested in institutional misogyny in the world of sport and sports media should read the horribly funny, genuinely enthusiastic, honest and wideranging Get Her Off The Pitch! by Lynne Truss. The link will take you to her own website, which is as hilarious and observant as all her other work.

Thank you, William Hill, for standing up for women. I know your heart is where our wallet is. Here are the details, taken from the press release. All the breathless punctuation, erratic quality of tone and random capitalisation remains. It is well classy. When the final shortlist is agreed you can vote for your favourite online or act like a lady and pick up one of the coupons which will be available in all William Hill outlets - yes, I am talking about that notoriously female-heavy and woman-positive cultural space, the betmaker's shop. Now I am off to watched looped re-runs of all of Boots's Here Come The Girls adverts. Enjoy:

The inaugural William Hill Sportswoman Of The Year Award will be decided on the 21st of December, the winner of which will gain a VIP trip to the William Hill King George on boxing day as well as £1000 Charity bet on the big race & a Trophy for the mantelpiece. To Nominate Your forgotten female: Go to the William Hill Facebook page. The shortlist will consist of the ten sportswomen with the most nominations. The final shortlist will be confirmed on Monday, you can then vote for your favourite at or pick up one of the 240,000 coupons which will be available in all William Hill shops from mid week. “The award is designed to give members of the public the opportunity to choose both the shortlist, as well as the winner. It has been a good year for Women’s sport, let’s celebrate it,” said Hill’s spokesman Rupert Adams. Further Information….0208 918 3858……0784 1011 584

UPDATE: As at 14th December 2-11 , the shortlist is now up. Here's the press release I was sent:

The shortlist for the inaugural William Hill Sports Woman Of The Year Award has been announced and it is time to vote for your favourite. Hills are accepting votes online at or you can pick up a coupon in any of the 2350 William Hill shops. The Shortlist For The William Hill Sports Woman Of The Year, as voted for by William Hill customers:        
  • Rebecca Adlington: Won a gold and silver medal at the World Aquatics Championship in Shanghai.
  • Charlotte Edwards: Captain of the all conquering England Women’s Cricket Team.
  • Jessica Ennis: UK No.1 Heptathlete, won silver at World Championships.    
  • Tamsin Greenway: captain Of The Surrey Storm, bronze medal winner at the netball World Championships.       
  • Helen Jenkins: British No.1 Triathlete, qualified for Olympics after winning the Hyde Park Event.        
  • Sarah Stevenson: Won gold at the 2011 Tae Kwon Do World Championships.      
  • Kelly Smith: England Striker who competed in the Women’s Football World Cup earlier this year.        
  • Hayley Turner: Rode 83 winners in 2011, including two Group One wins.    
  • Beth Tweddle: Grabbed gold at European Gymnastics in Berlin.       
  • Chrissie Wellington: Added a fourth Ironman World Championship title in 2011.                                                                                                                                                                                            
Vote Online until Midday 20th December
Vote In Shop until 9.30pm on the 18th December
Winner Announced on 21st December 2011

Um, William Hill, I know you have better things to do than work on basic literacy skills, like betting on sport, but perhaps you could hire a new person to write your press releases? Capital Letters Do Not Go Everywhere.