Enjoy this equitable approach while you can. An Olympic prediction: Once the torch is extinguished, we will return to media in denial of the vast accomplishment of women's sport.
In my community I can drive by soccer pitches of girls, see women on the golf courses, jog amid women on the running paths, cede my tennis court to a women's doubles match, walk past parks of girls and women playing softball, be passed on the road by a women's cycling team, and take the ice after a game in a women's league.
I've long stopped thinking about that as anything unusual. Why would I?
But I can also sift through my morning newspapers and find at best perhaps two or three stories, perhaps nothing at all, on any given day in the sports section to reflect the athletic commitment of one half of our population. I can do the same watching the ceaseless television sports highlights shows. Sports radio? A guy thing.
It takes a championship point to show a woman, a reasonably accurate seven-iron shot to the green on a tournament's second day to show a man. Occasional exceptions exist when there is a local story to tell, as when a Canadian is doing well internationally, or when a woman breaks a gender barrier. But only a very careful consumer of typical sports coverage would know who the WNBA champion is, what are Inbee Park's extraordinary achievements, or (outside of the last couple of days) who is the captain of the Canadian women's hockey team.
There is no small local irony in this. My city played host to the last Winter Games. We celebrated many Canadian women's medals (there were more of them than there were of men's, just as there are bound to be in Sochi) and watched the world's best winter athletes.
Four years later, in a city wondering about the legacy of the Games, we typically have this: page after page, discussion after discussion, and program after program of men's sport. There is a nice break in the routine during the Olympics but no reason to believe it will change after Sochi.
(Before this becomes an entire finger-wagging, I add this is by way of a confession of regret: I held many senior newsroom roles over the years and I recognized this deficiency and imbalance too late in my career to do anything significant about it. I take responsibility for a big mistake.)
It is true that editors and producers can point to smaller crowds and prize money and question why they would commit resources to relatively meagre events. But the chicken-and-egg argument can also read: Media made men's sport bigger and reinforced them by suggesting only their events were newsworthy.
I fear it's a lost cause with the incumbent managers. They've struck what they believe is the winning formula for sports coverage: male professional sports, followed by more male professional sports, followed by more male athletics, followed by a light dusting of relegated women.
A newsroom today worries more about losing what it has than thinking about what it could have.
Newsroom compositions do not help. The U.S. Women's Media Center released its annual State of Women in the Media report this week, and a particular problem is the lack of women in sports journalism. There is no reason to believe the situation is much different anywhere else.
But, just as the problem of representation is something men can address, so is the problem of coverage. We need not wait for the newsroom numbers to make sense before the newsroom content does.
There is a clear benefit in store. As with any effort to reflect our diversity, this is good business. One needs only to look locally to the playing fields for the evidence.
The more conscientious media look to women's sport as part of their commitment to social justice. The more conscious media can look to women's sport as a potential business model. It is not a niche, but a large enterprise, and as far as the eye can see, it is an open field for anyone to champion and without much risk in a business that needs to take some.