Men feature up to 10 times more sports media coverage than their female peers, according to preliminary findings from a European project.
Spread over two years until the end of next year, Women in Sports aims to raise awareness of the insufficient and inappropriate coverage of women’s sport and reduce gender stereotypes in media coverage.
Funded by Erasmus + Sport, project collaborators are based in the UK, Sweden, Greece, Romania and Malta.
Over the past month, the Malta Foundation for the Promotion of Social Inclusion has monitored online portals in English to analyze the type of exposure women get in sports news compared to men.
The monitoring exercise will be replicated in the coming months, and local data will be compared to that of the other four countries, followed by a discussion of what can be done and how to raise awareness.
Female athletes were referred collectively, while men received individual and personal coverage
Referring to research results gathered between August 28 and Thursday, Madalina Cristiana Pop said that, on average, male names were seven or even ten times more often than female names or a combination of names.
Female athletes were often nominated collectively, while men were given individual and personal coverage.
The names of men were predominant in the case of football matches, boat or regatta competitions, water polo and motor racing competitions.
When it comes to coverage of sports disciplines such as cycling, weightlifting or darts, the names of women have been reported alongside their male counterparts. Women were more visible in the younger age categories and sports activities and programs for children.
Meanwhile, only two of the 40 news articles studied featured a female athlete on their cover.
In her closing remarks, Ms Pop said the research confirmed theoretical literature indicating there was a lack of media coverage of female athletes.
In a discussion after a presentation of the opening remarks, it was noted that if the mindset changes, there should be pressure for fair coverage rather than affirmative action in favor of female athletes.
One participant said that it is also up to sports associations to provide journalists with information about upcoming competitions and to promote their participants.
Another participant pointed out that very little sporting activity has taken place in August and September in Malta and that media monitoring should be carried out during the busiest months.
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