The sports journalist on hard work, the wage gap, and hopes for her legacy.
Beth Mowins is about to make history.
The veteran ESPN sports reporter will score a career touchdown of her own on September 11, when she will become the first woman to call an NFL football game on national television. The game — a match-up between the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos — is part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football season opening. Mowins will then call another NFL game on September 24, this time for CBS Sports — an achievement that will make her the only woman currently in that position on one of the big three networks.
Mowins joined ESPN back in 1994, and it took 22 years — and incredibly hard work — to reach this career pinnacle. From where she sits now, she sees her achievement as one that may open doors for young women in the industry. It proves to them that “it’s okay to be ambitious and aggressive with your career,” she says.
Her new role comes at a time when women are breaking more and more glass ceilings in sports — and Mowins gives them credit for the going the distance. She points to fellow female broadcasters like Kate Scott and Lisa Byington, both of whom will become the first female play-by-play football game announcers on other networks later this year.
Over the course of Mowins’ career, she has faced obstacles, but she says she’s always pushed through. “All you need is one person, or a couple of people, to take a chance on a young women,” she says, of others who may follow suit. “Sometimes that didn’t come easy [in my career]; sometimes you would get frustrated that opportunities weren’t happening as quickly as you would hope.”
And indeed, the hardships women face in sports are well-documented. Within the professional athletics community, Newsweek reported last year that the US Women’s National Team earned salaries less than half those of their male counterparts on the Men’s National Team: $99,000 for women, compared to $263,320 for men.
The wage gap is an issue Mowins hopes to see remedied. “I wish that there was a way to pay women a lot more for what they do,” she conceded. “I certainly think when you’re talking about a US national team like the women’s soccer and men’s soccer team, that should be the exact same amount [for both].”
“You’ve got to fight to make it equal,” Mowins added.
But, if her new role is proof of anything, it’s that women will increasingly make headway in sports. “I think we’re starting to see it more and more,” she shared. “For example, the NFL estimates that about 45 percent of its fan base is female. So why wouldn’t there be a female voice on the broadcast?”
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