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No lasting legacy: no change in reporting of women's sports in the British print media with the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics

23 Feb 2015

Background

The proportion of media sports coverage devoted to women is reported at between 1 and 6%. Our survey examines and compares reporting patterns before and after the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Methods

We collected data on sports coverage in six national newspapers on 3 weekend days in February and March 2012, and in February 2013; ~5 months before the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games and 5 months after the closing of the Paralympic Games.

Results

In 2012, 39 of 876 articles in national newspapers (4.5%) related to women's sports, compared with 22 of 755 (2.9%) in 2013; a non-significant reduction in coverage [difference 1.54%, 95% confidence interval (CI) –0.28 to 3.36). In 2012, 24 of 647 pictures (3.7%) related to women's activities, compared with 10 of 738 (1.4%) in 2013; a significant reduction in coverage (difference 2.35%; 95% CI 0.68–4.03). The median area per article was significantly greater for men in both years.

Conclusions

We found a continuing bias towards men's sport in the media analysed and no evidence of improvement either before or after the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Increased support of women's sport in the print media could benefit individuals and influence the health of the population.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of Public Health