Friday, 10 April 2015

Dear BBC Sport, Helena Morrissey Is So Much More Than A Mother-Of-Nine

Helena Morrissey, is the CEO of Newton Investment Management. She is credited with transforming women's rowing, after her company became the first sponsor for the annual Women's Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford universities four years ago.

Later, in 2012, the parent company of Newton, BNY Mellon, became a major sponsor of the Men's Boat Race and has a clear "mandate for gender equality".

It's no co-incidence that the Women's Boat Race will make history this year by taking place on the same course, on the same day and being broadcast on TV.

To BBC Sport, however, it seems Morrissey is merely a mother-of-nine.

In a tweet posted on Thursday afternoon about how Morrissey is refusing to allow the Women's Boat Race "to be degraded any longer", she was ironically degraded herself.

No mention of her name nor her position as CEO or even the fact that she is the first sponsor of the race were made in the tweet - the fact that she is a mother-of-nine, however, took pride of place.

The tweet has been blasted as "cheap and shoddy", while others have questioned whether the number of children she has is relevant at all. If she were a father-of-nine would that have made it into the tweet? Probs not.

The article is not much better. Morrissey is identified as a "mother-of-nine" in the first paragraph, for her name or the fact that she is CEO, we need to read on some some 10 paragraphs down.

Of course being a mother is a fantastic achievement, and carrying and raising nine children is no mean feat. But, at this moment, the fact that she is a mother-of-nine is almost completely irrelevant, while her contribution to women's rowing, her position as a CEO of an investment company and all round kick-ass woman is what BBC Sport should really be championing.

Now, we all know that constructing tweets with only 140 characters can be difficult. Adding a hyperlink to an article takes up around 22 characters, adding a photograph (which makes tweet click better) also takes up 22 characters. So this left BBC Sport with around 96 characters to construct their tweet.

So I've done some number-crunching: "Mother-of-nine" takes up a whopping 15 characters, while "Helena Morrissey" uses 16, "CEO Helena Morrissey" uses 19, "CEO and race sponsor" uses 20.

It's not a lot of difference in terms of Twitter characters, but a whole lot of difference in terms of meaning.

Come on BBC, we need better than this.

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