Broadcasters including the BBC must to do more to improve their "woefully under-represented" coverage of women's sport in the aftermath of the successful London Olympics, the Government's new Culture Secretary has warned.
In one of her first moves since being promoted to the Cabinet in last week's reshuffle, Maria Miller has written to all the national broadcasters telling them to reassess their coverage of women's sport.
Ms Miller, who also holds the Government's equality brief, said she wanted to call in channel bosses to discuss how wider coverage could be achieved. In a trenchant letter Ms Miller said the huge television audiences over the summer Olympics showed that the public had "a real appetite" for mainstream coverage of women's sport.
She said athletes such as Nicola Adams, Jessica Ennis and Ellie Simmonds had become powerful role models for women and girls, and coverage could promote participation in sport as well as providing entertaining viewing.
"The British media has done a fantastic job championing the achievements of our female athletes at London 2012," she wrote in the letter sent to, among others, Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC. "But outside the Olympics and Paralympics women's sport has been woefully under-represented on television."
Ms Miller said she wanted to meet broadcasters to assess their plans to include more women's sport in their programming.
Her letter continued: "I realise there are considerable pressures on your schedules but I would be most grateful if we could perhaps meet to discuss how women's sports coverage can get more profile in the mainstream, helping to build a real broadcasting legacy from the Games."