UNESCO calls for fairer media coverage of sportswomen



As millions around the world tune into the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games, World Radio Day (WRD), celebrated on 13 February 2018, is dedicated to the theme of “Radio and Sports”. On this occasion, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, calls on media to provide more equal coverage of women athletes.

“The fight for equality between women and men is central to our work,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Only 4% of sports media content is dedicated to women’s sport. Only 12% of sports news is presented by women.”

UNESCO also deplores the stereotypical comments that circulate in the media, often focusing on physical appearance of athletes or their family status, or even crediting their achievements to their male coaches and trainers.

On this Day, UNESCO is launching an awareness-raising campaign by making available a series of engaging spots for radio stations around the world, denouncing the differences in media coverage between women and men athletes. Inspired by a variety of real life sporting moments, and produced by creative agency BETC, the spots draw attention to the widespread stereotypes, as well as the lack of credit and recognition to which many women athletes are subject.

Find the radio package here. (English: 6 spots, French: 6 spots. Length: 40-50 sec)

UNESCO has also collected interviews of sporting legends and influential sports broadcasters who are contributing to improved diversity, greater respect, equality between women and men, and peace and development initiatives within the world of sports media.

All content is made available rights-free for radio stations and other media for broadcast on and around World Radio Day. Find all audio packages at the World Radio day website: www.worldradioday.org (audio in English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish).



“Whenever media tends to cover women’s sports, they do all the fluffy nice stories, but we want the media to critique performances. Be analytical – something that the media and journalists are with the male side of the game.” – Lisa Sthalekar, top cricket commentator. Find the radio package here.

“Some criticism does come my way. They say, ‘girls are supposed to take care of their houses’ or ‘girls are supposed to make rotis. What are girls doing in sports on screen?’” – Fazeela Saba, a leading sports broadcaster from Pakistan.  Find the radio package here.

“For the first time in our country’s history, everybody in South Africa was a World Cup winner. The media was central in keeping people informed on this journey. And especially radio, because in the far outlying rural areas of South Africa – the townships – people would just have radio. They would be glued to the radio listening to the matches and results.” – South African rugby legend Francois Pienaar. Find the radio package here.


For more information on World Radio Day, click here.