Gender Equality in Sports Media
Sports coverage is hugely powerful in shaping norms and stereotypes about gender. Media has the ability to challenge these norms, promoting a balanced coverage of men's and women's sports and a fair portrayal of sportspeople – irrespective of gender.
Portrayal of Women in Sports Media
Media representations of sports and athletes can contribute to the construction of harmful gender stereotypes. Media tend to represent women athletes as women first and athletes second. Coverage of women in sports is often dominated by references to appearance, age or family life, whereas men are depicted as powerful, independent, dominating, and valued as athletes.
Number of Women Broadcasters
In recent times, sports broadcasting has become more accessible to women. However, numbers show that there is still a noticeable gap. Currently, a low % of sports broadcasters are women, and including weekday hosts on sports radio stations are female. The number of women who enter into sports journalism is still relatively low, and this particular area of reporting remains a predominantly male-dominated specialty in countries all over the world.
Coverage of Women's Competitions and Practice
There continues to be an imbalance in the quality and quantity of sports coverage of sports women compared to that of men. Two weeks of Olympic coverage are a rare time when sustained coverage of women sports stars hits the headlines. Yet outside the period of major sporting festivals, statistics claim that 40% of all sports participants are women, yet women’s sports receive only around 4% of all sports media coverage. And, of that limited coverage, women are often objectified or demeaned.
Instal Her Headline: Using a database of pre-determined words, the UNESCO extension scans sports articles and highlights gender-biased words and phrases that are used in sports media, and explains why they may be problematic.
Host Special 'Gender and Sports' Program: Invite local sports stars to have a lively discussion on how women and men are portrayed in sports coverage. Involve listeners.
Hand the Mic to Women: Put women sports broadcasters’ front and center to show that gender is irrelevant to quality commentary, and conduct a longer term review of your workplace gender policies.
Bring Women’s Sports to the Fore: Report on women’s sports events and training in your country or region, as the first step to more balanced coverage of these sports
Gauge Gender-Sensitivity in your operations and content: Apply UNESCO’s Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media.
Take Action here: Here are more ways to stand together for gender equality in sports media.