Gender equity in sport is regarded as a matter of
consequence at global and national levels.
Examining print media coverage of women’s sport
is a fundamental approach to monitor the status of equity in sport. The print media constitutes an influential role player in equity as it portrays the dominant images in society. A substantial international body of evidence has been generated measuring media coverage of women’s sport but South African data is notably absent. The primary aims of this study were to record the coverage of women’s sport in the South African print media and to ascertain if different sport disciplines received
differential coverage in the print media in terms of gender equity. A content analysis was used as research instrument in accordance with the benchmark research methodology of the Amateur
Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles for studies in
this regard. Five South African newspapers
representing 65.20% of total newspaper readership
represented the sample and 2806 articles were
analysed. Results suggested that despite priority
given to gender equity in South African sport policy documents inequalities existed in the coverage of women’s sport in the print media. Overall findings furthermore revealed considerable under-representation and under-reporting in all six variables of the content analysis namely extent of coverage, type of sport reported on, length of article, number and type of photographs and gender of photographer. Overall trends recorded in this study replicated longitudinal findings in the USA, Australia and United Kingdom. The findings of this study might be indicative of a larger issue underlying gender equity in print media coverage
namely that of agenda setting.