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Lack of media coverage hinders female sport participation


Published: 06/21/2016

by Arielle Duke

For more information, to obtain a copy of the report or to get involved in the initiative, visit Follow and join the movement online to #ChampionHer.

Over the past 20 years in Canada, female participation in sport has continued to decline. For young girls, sport brings positive, physical, psychological, and social benefits – yet these benefits aren't always realized as many often quit prematurely.

A recent report on the status of female sport participation in Canada, titled Women In Sport: Fuelling a Lifetime of Participation, demonstrates the correlation between the lack of female sport coverage (only 5 per cent of media coverage was dedicated to women's sports) and declined girls' sport participation. This report identifies the need for Canadian print, broadcast and online media outlets to share and raise awareness of female sporting events and achievements.

The report, commissioned by Canada's dairy farmers and the Canadian Association for Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), states that 41 per cent of girls between the ages of three and 17 don't participate in sport. This number jumps to 84 per cent in adult women.

Furthermore, when 657 female leaders in Canadian sport were surveyed, 96 per cent reported that an increase in quality media exposure would contribute to an increase in female participation levels.

“Alongside dairy farmers and the Fuelling Women Champions initiative, let's all commit to shinning a light on women in sports. Support your daughters, your sisters and your mother. Together, we can initiate positive social change,” says Caroline Emond, executive director of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

The report further demonstrates the discrepancy between male and female sport coverage. Of 2014 sports programming on Canada's national sports networks, only four per cent featured women's sport games or competitions. Plus, across four years of national print media, only 24 per cent of all pages studied had any women's sports coverage and only five per cent of the total coverage was on women's sport.

“This report highlights the disparity that exists within current sports media coverage and how it does affect young girls. We're hopeful that in the years to come a change can be seen,” says Karin Lofstrom, executive director of CAAWS.

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