The problem can be summed up by one tweet:
How about “World-Class Athlete Corey Cogdell-Unrein Wins Gold Medal?” The tweet was later changed—and the headline at least mentions her name—but ‘wife of Bears’ lineman’ is still there in big, bold letters.
A piece in the Washington Post highlights that this is part of a much bigger problem.
It notes a study done this year by the Cambridge University Press, where researchers mined sports articles and sorted through millions of words to identify any patterns of how men and women are written about as athletes.
“Notable terms that cropped up as common word associations or combinations for women, but not men, in sport include ‘aged’, ‘older’, ‘pregnant’ and ‘married’ or ‘un-married’, ” the study stated. “The top word combinations for men in sport, by contrast, are more likely to be adjectives like ‘fastest’, ‘strong’, ‘big’, ‘real’ and ‘great.'”
It gets worse. When describing athletic performance, men get words such as mastermind, beat, win, dominate and battle. Female athletes? You are more likely to read words such as compete, participate and strive.
The Washington Post sums it up perfectly:
“This Olympics should be the summer of women. More women are participating in the Games than ever before—45 percent of the athletes are female. On the U.S. team, the 292 women make up just over half the team and will likely end up dominating the medal count at the end of these Games. But that doesn’t mean they will be treated equally.”
So what can you do to be part of the change?
Get on Twitter, Facebook and every other social media channel to celebrate the fastest, strongest women athletes as they dominate in Rio.
Share this article so people know this is a real issue.
Become the greatest female athlete you can be. And don’t let people tell you otherwise.