World Athletics Embraces Gender Equality in Online Sports Media Coverage

World Athletics’ study reveals a positive shift towards gender balance in online sports news coverage, with female athletes making strides in representation. Learn more about the efforts to promote equality and reshape media narratives in the sports world.

World Athletics Explores Gender Balance in Online Sports News Coverage

A recent study by World Athletics has shed light on the evolving landscape of gender representation in online sports news coverage. The research, conducted as part of the organization’s #WeGrowAthletics pledge linked to International Women’s Day, aimed to better understand the gap between news coverage of female and male athletes during the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

The analysis, undertaken by content and creative agency Redtorch, revealed a slight shift towards greater gender balance in “Google News Search” results. Compared to the 2022 World Athletics Championships, female athlete representation increased by 4%, bringing the ratio to 46% female and 54% male.

Interestingly, the data also showed that female athletes enjoy a 14% larger social media following (57% female, 43% male) across the board. However, they still do not receive proportionate prominence in overall news coverage.

Delving deeper into specific athletic disciplines, the study found that female running athletes generated a higher volume of news search results, better aligning with their popularity among fans on social media platforms. In contrast, the gender disparity remained evident in the coverage of female athletes in jumps, throws, and road racing events.

“The overall improvement in gender parity of news search results, especially among running athletes, demonstrates the accelerating progress in reshaping media coverage of female athletes. We remain dedicated to collaborating with industry partners to drive further enhancements for equitable representation in media narratives.” – World Athletics President Sebastian Coe

In an effort to address these imbalances, World Athletics has shared the research findings with Google, to support their ongoing work in addressing gender disparities in search engine results. The organization is committed to leading the way for gender equity in sport, as evidenced by the historic election of a gender-balanced Council in 2023 – a first for any international sport federation worldwide.

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