Summer University inauguration

 

Journalist Paloma del Río opened the university week with a speech on sexism in sport

 

The 26th Adeje Summer University was inaugurated at noon today in a ceremony in the Adeje Convent. The Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, praised the continuance of the summer school adding “we are meeting a real need, dealing with subjects that matter to the population as a whole”

The mayor said that educational institutions were there to deal with issues of common interest and this initiative had allowed Adeje to open new academic connections, which had led to the creation of a university campus here in the south of Tenerife, where today a full Tourism degree was now on offer. Third level education is a priority, he said, in particular in a tourism borough where, in the past, young people had left school to work without finishing their education, with the growth of the hotel and holiday sectors, and resultant jobs.

The vice-rector of the University of La Laguna (ULL) Francisco García, said the courses this year would offer “a feast of knowledge” starting next Monday, with 10 courses and 14 workshops in modular and flexible formats to meet the needs of today’s student as well as an international investigative congress. He also referred to the wide range of parallel cultural activities scheduled, with concerts, book launches, live radio programmes, etc. And with over 700 students already signed up, it shows “that those who will attend next week are not just looking for university credits but also reflect a thirst for information and education in many different disciplines”.

The ULL rector, Antonio Martinón, thanked Adeje for helping “the ULL complete one of its missions – the extending of knowledge into our society in general”. He also told those in attendance that tomorrow (Saturday July 21st) they would also be celebrating the graduation of the third Tourism degree class in South Tenerife, in Adeje, and from the next academic year a number of related post-graduate courses would also be on offer here. He made special reference to the Adeje mayor’s commitment to education, “it is a pleasure to see a politician defending such a basic need as education today”.

Women and sport
The Spanish television journalist Paloma del Río delivered the university inaugural address, and introducing her to the audience, Adeje sports councillor Adolfo Alonso said she was “an inspiration for hundreds and hundreds of people who have decided to take up journalism”. Del Río started her talk referring to the two things that had to be eliminated from sports – sexism and the invisibility (of the importance of female athletes). “We are all responsible for the current situation – from communication media to politicians and business leaders”, she said.

Too often, she said, the media forgets that there are women in sport, or talks about them in terms of their marital and maternal status, their figure or physical aspect, their personal lives, their appearance, something that is much rarer when they are discussing male athletes. Women are given ‘cute’ titles, or nicknames, while their male counterparts will often be labelled as superheroes. Del Río said that there were some sports federations now beginning to address the matter, but taking ‘timid steps’ still.

“Journalists continue to treat female sport as a ‘slave’ to male sports”, she argued, where even today you will find the success of a female athlete attributed to her adopting male physical attributes, for instance. “This kind of sexism is unacceptable in the 21st century”, she said”, “and the media are still a long way away from properly recognising the achievements of women in all aspects of life”. If the presence of women in politics or the economy or health circles is minimum, “in sport it is practically invisible” Del Río pointed out.

This is not just a Spanish problem but similar at international level, with the sexualisation of photographing female athletes, concentrating on their looks before their sporting successes. “Sporting journalism is still a man’s world, for male consumers” she stated, though she did notice that women athletes are using social media to work to shift the balance on their own behalf. She also praised the Adeje Summer University for including a course on sports journalism this year,

 

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