New report reveals stark gender divide in Scottish sports media coverage

A new report published today by the Equal Media and Culture Centre (EMCC), based at Engender, reveals a significant gender gap in how men and women athletes are covered in Scottish sports media.

The graphic shows a navy background with white and orange left-aligned text quote that reads "New report reveals huge imbalance in the coverage of men and women's sport in Scotland persists". In the bottom right-hand corner of the graphic is the Equal Media and Culture Centre for Scotland logo.

The report, titled 'The Gendered Coverage of Scottish Sport' analysed over 7,000 articles about Scottish football, rugby and golf published across major Scottish newspapers over a 12-month period. It found that coverage of men’s participation in these sports received nearly 96% of overall coverage, while stories about women made up just 4% of articles. 

Some of the key findings from the report include: 

  • There was 28 times as much coverage of men’s football as women’s football in Scotland over the year. 
  • There was over 26 times as much coverage of men’s rugby as women’s rugby in Scotland. 
  • Phrases used about sportswomen were disappointingly outdated, including ‘strutting her stuff’. 

The report concludes that Scottish sports media has a long way to go to achieve gender parity in coverage. It calls on media outlets to make tangible commitments to improving women's sports reporting, highlighting the impact this can have on women and girls’ participation in Scottish sports, as well as gender equality in Scottish culture more generally. 

Its recommendations include dedicating resources to encourage more women into sports journalism in Scotland, signposting to guidelines about the language, commentary and images used in reporting on women’s sports, and attracting more women into leadership positions in Scottish sporting bodies. 

Dr Miranda Barty-Taylor, EMCC Project Manager, said,

"The data clearly shows that our sports media is falling short when it comes to gender representation, despite the amazing achievements of Scotland's women athletes, they are simply not receiving an equal level of coverage." 

"Media visibility has a direct impact on funding, participation and advancement for women's sports. We urge Scottish media to start monitoring the gender-balance of their sports coverage and work with sports bodies to normalise writing about women’s incredible sporting achievements in Scotland."

You can read the full report and find out more about the work of the Equal Media and Culture Centre here. 

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