So it's not, as was pointed out in an official survey only this week, an issue of teachers creating an apartheid of ability whereby only kids who are any good are given any time coupled with the fact that the female versions of the most high profile sports are given pitiful amounts of airtime not because of some image problem but because the quality in those sports is actually quite poor compared to the male version?
It's those things, too. They're in the report I linked to in the OP, and they're arguably the most important obstacles, not least because they should be easier to overcome. That doesn't mean the issue of objectification is irrelevant — indeed, it was highlighted in the same report, and it's the one that's most relevant to Mailwatch.
I don't really agree with you about the link between quality and profile either, or rather I think it's a lot more complicated that you suggest. For instance, for the semi-finals of the women's champion's league last month, more than 15,000 people attended the game in Lyon, while fewer than 500 went to the match hosted by Arsenal. The quality wasn't that different (although Lyon is the reigning European champion), but Lyon and the French Football Federation have put time and money into promoting the women's game, while Arsenal played their match with minimal publicity on a Wednesday afternoon in Borehamwood. There's a huge potential audience for women's sport — mainly made up of women — but the organisers always face the same obstacles: the self-fulfilling cliché that women aren't interested in watching or participating in sports, and women's sport constantly being judged in comparison with men's.
Also, is the fact that the quality isn't so good a factor of the underexposure, making it a big of a vicious circle. If there were more exposure for womens sport then there would be more money in the sport and the quality would improve. For instance in Norway, the womens Handball is a massive sport and possibly more popular than the mens, because it isn't so fast. That may be a factor of the sport itself, the court is quite small and its no fun to watch the men lobbing the ball from one end to the other all the time, so the women have to play more tactically, making it more enjoyable to watch.
I'd have though that it could be the same for tennis, fewer high speed aces and smashes leading to more rallies leading to a more spectator friendly sport, but it isn't.
Sprry for the rather incoherent ramble there.