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Building peace in the minds of men and women

Women Make the News 2018

Sports coverage is hugely powerful in shaping norms and stereotypes about gender. Media has the ability to challenge these norms, promoting a balanced coverage of men's and women's sports and a fair portrayal of sportspeople irrespective of gender


In spite of their monumental achievements, women’s representation in media remains drastically different to that of their male counterparts. Women are the focus of only 10% of news stories, comprise just 20% of experts or spokespeople interviewed, and a mere 4% of news stories are deemed to challenge gender stereotypes.

Media coverage of sportswomen is no different.

This year, Women Make the News 2018 sets out to promote a more balanced and non-stereotypical portrayal of women athletes in the media by raising awareness of the gender inequalities in current sports coverage and giving audiences tools to hold media outlets accountable.   

Highlighted by this year’s World Radio Day Campaign, women, despite their prolific advancement as athletes, receive just 4% of total sports-related media coverage. Of that 4% coverage, reporting often refers to their physical appearance and personal lives, rather than athletic abilities.

Language used to describe athletes in the media has been analysed, finding significant discrepancies between the way sportsmen and women are described. Words like “aged,” “older,” “pregnant,” “married,” and “unmarried,” cropped up frequently in descriptions of women, but not of men. In contrast, adjectives like “fastest,” “strong,” “big,” “real,” and “great” were regularly used to describe male athletes. Gender norms and stereotypes are deeply rooted within societies’ collective consciousness and are perpetuated by media's representation of women and men as athletes.

Watch and listen to this example as one woman describes her sporting moments compared to that of a mans. 

Launched annually on International Women’s Day (8 March), Women Make the News is a global initiative aimed at raising awareness on issues relating to gender equality in and through the media, driving debate and encouraging action-oriented solutions to meet global objectives. 

To that end, Women Make the News 2018 is launching three initiatives to aid in raising awareness and continue the conversation on gender inequality in sports coverage. 


INSTALL our Gender Equality Extension UNESCO launches the first–ever gender equality plugin. See sports coverage in a new light. Our extension will shed light on the qualitative and quantitative gaps in media coverage of women athletes. 

SHARE #HerMomentsMatter: Sexist headlines can ruin what should be a perfect moment for women athletes. UNESCO revisits some of the more infamous Olympic headlines that have put a damper on the victories of women athletes and sets them right.

PLAY Guess Who: How many sportswomen can you name? Take our quick quiz and test your knowledge

UNESCO calls on the public to take an active stand in recognising and reporting gender inequality in sports media.

Here’s how you can get involved in Women Make the News 2018




In Focus

UNESCO launches 'Her Headline' - a first-ever gender equality chrome extension

To mark the annual observance of Women Make the News, The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with support from Cambridge University Press, has developed the first ever sports media-focused gender equality Chrome extension called Her Headline