A DECLINE in women's sports coverage in Australia could cut junior female participation, according to a Bundaberg sportswoman.
Bundaberg Bears captain Kylie Giles was responding to a new report that showed that women feature in only 7% of sports programming in Australia.
The report, Towards a Level Playing Field: Sport and Gender in Australian Media was compiled for the Australian Sports Commission and found that watching women's sports was a low entertainment priority, especially among women.
On average male consumers watched about 97 minutes of women's sports each week while female consumers watched 92 minutes each week.
About 70% of all female sport coverage was on Pay TV.
An ASC spokesman said the research showed there was a key opportunity for sport in the evolving media landscape.
"Currently the media landscape is fragmented but by 2016-17, media distribution will be highly tailored to the customer's wants and needs," he said.
"While research revealed that the media coverage of women's sport only represented 7% of the traditional television sports broadcasting in Australia, there was significant coverage of women's sport in new mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs at 26%.
"As such, for a larger proportion of women's sport to be commercially attractive it needs to create a larger mass of dedicated, passionate fans."
Mrs Giles said locally the coverage of women's sport through print, radio and TV was great, but nationally it had a lot of work to do.
"It needs to be higher on a national scale because that is what increases participation rates," she said.
"If girls don't see it on the media than they won't know that it is a career option."
The most popular female sport coverage in Australia was tennis (47%).
Mrs Giles, a 20-year basketball veteran, said she was disappointed her sport would have a decline in coverage with the ABC no longer broadcasting the WNBL.,
"Sport is a business, but there is still a lot of women's sports that people are interested in," she said.
"I think it would be great to have a quota for women's sport on TV.
"This time of the year I think I sometimes count eight to nine pages in the Courier-Mail before I come to a female sports story."