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Where are the women in sports broadcasts?

Sportswomen appear in just 77 hours out of 15,130 of coverage

Josephine Grima (left) in action against Gibraltar during the European Championship for Small States in Cork, Ireland, earlier this month. Malta won bronze.

Josephine Grima (left) in action against Gibraltar during the European Championship for Small States in Cork, Ireland, earlier this month. Malta won bronze.

While men feature in at least four of every five media reports on sports activities, women do not even make it to one per cent, according to the findings of a European project.

Research for the Women and Girls in Sports News and Media project, focusing on TV and online coverage, put women athlete’s representation at just 0.51 per cent of broadcasts, contrasting sharply with the 85.21 per cent in the case of men.

Sportswomen only appeared in 77 hours out of the 15,130 hours of sports coverage on Maltese television.

Online coverage was better, though still low. An average of four per cent of reporting on women in sports was recorded, with a bigger range of sports covered online.

Online coverage was better than TV, but still low

When the Foundation for the Promotion of Social Inclusion Malta unveiled the figures yesterday, sports journalists Lorraine Cunningham and Domenic Aquilina, who were present for the event, remarked that the research could look into what led to such insignificant coverage for women.

Video: Sarah CarabottVideo: Sarah Carabott

While women’s participation was high, researchers could look into how many took part in sports competitions, compared to men, and how many sports associations were feeding information to journalists, Ms Cunningham and Mr Aquilina noted.

Funded by Erasmus+ Sports, the project collaborators are based in the UK, Sweden, Greece, Romania and Malta.

Spread over two years until the end of this year, the project aims to increase awareness about insufficient and inappropriate coverage of women’s sport and reducing gender stereotyping in media coverage.

The research was carried out by the UK-based Nielsen Company and divided over two monitoring periods spread across July to November 2017.

According to the findings, when it comes to the quality of reporting, men and women were treated equally.

The sexes received the same amount of coverage when it came to the technique, achievements and actions in their sports, as opposed to non-sports related matters like the athletes’ personal lives.

Comparing the scores of the five participating countries to the Global Gender Gap report, Sweden and the UK (ranking fifth and 15th, respectively) were outperformed on the matter of equality in sports media by Romania (ranked 58th), according to the project report.

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