Report: women's sport remains ‘barely visible’ in Europe
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Report: women's sport remains ‘barely visible’ in Europe

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Research by UK-based charity Women in Sport suggests that there remains a lack of visibility of women’s sports coverage even among developed nations.

The research, co-funded by the EU's Erasmus+ programme, looked at coverage across five European nations – the UK, Sweden, Malta, Greece and Romania.

It found that across all five countries, women’s sport is significantly less visible than men’s sport and does not reflect the extent of high-level women’s sport taking place.

Men’s sport accounted for more than 80 per cent of coverage in the UK, Sweden and Malta, with football a significant driver of this.

In Greece and Romania, men’s sports coverage was a little lower at 70 per cent and 60 per cent respectively (with more mixed sport covered), but still dominated.

In four of the five countries, women’s sport failed to achieve above 10 per cent of all sports coverage. Coverage is at its lowest in Malta and Greece, where it failed to achieve more than 2 per cent.

In Sweden and the UK, the picture was variable, achieving between 3-6 per cent (Sweden) and 4-10 per cent (UK).

Romania had the highest and most consistent coverage, peaking at 14 per cent, predominantly driven by tennis champion, Simona Halep, helped by her celebrity status in the country.

The study also showed that pay TV is dominated by men’s sport programming. Nearly a third (31 per cent) of the channels monitored showed only men’s sport (23 out of 74).

Some free-to-air (FTA) channels, as well as Eurosport, provided coverage of women’s sport to a greater extent through major mixed events. FTA channels have an important role to play in reaching new and larger audiences.

“Where national teams are successful, or individual women’s sports stars have a strong following, the media shows interest, therefore coverage and viewing figures are strong," said Ruth Holdaway, CEO of Women in Sport.

“However, when it comes to domestic leagues, women’s sport is still significantly under-represented. This inconsistent profile of women’s sport in the media needs addressing so that the positive impact of the visibility of women’s sport can be realised.”

The research was published today (18 October) during the Women in Sport’s Empower Conference held in London.

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Research by charity Women in Sport suggests that there remains a lack of visibility of women’s sports coverage even among developed nations.