Study Reveals Women Underrepresented, Sexualized In U.K. Weekend Sports Reporting
New research by an academic from the University of East Anglia found U.K. Sunday newspapers promote the weekend as a male domain centered around their activities and interests. The study found that the representation of sportswomen and men is different in weekend newspaper reporting, with women under-represented and unfairly represented in sports coverage and photographs. Over two years, five U.K. national Sunday newspapers dedicated just 826 (3.6%) articles to sportswomen, compared to the 21,531 (93.8%) devoted to sportsmen. There was also a stark difference in the number of photographs of sportsmen and women published -- of the 25,717 photographs that appeared, 1,780 (6.9%) were of women. The research was conducted by Dr. Amy Godoy-Pressland from UEA’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning. It is the first study to look at how sports reporting and gender differs at the weekend, and particularly on Sundays, from weekday reporting. The study involved analyzing the sports sections of the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Observer, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Express from Jan. '08 to Dec. '09. Of 22,954 articles published, the five papers averaged 35 stories a month on sportswomen, compared to 897 on sportsmen. There was also a tendency for the papers to print images and stories of women not connected to sport, even when photographic coverage of sportswomen became more prominent, such as during the Beijing Olympics. Of the 761 female photographs in the Sunday Times and 396 in the Mail on Sunday, 31% and 22%, respectively, were non-sports related. Women’s bodies were also sexualized in photographic and written coverage. There were many photographs of sportswomen nude, semi-nude or in revealing clothes, but for men, sports performance took precedence over stories or photographs which highlighted their bodies in a sexual manner (University of East Anglia). The complete study.