Women in sport: how to watch media coverage of the Paris 2024 Olympics

By Carolyn Ali

Canada's shooting guard Nirra Fields works around Spain's guard Anna Cruz during a basketball match between Spain and Canada in Rio de Janeiro during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Media coverage can reinforce or challenge gender stereotypes, influence who we consider a role model, and shape how girls and women experience sports. Photo: Canada’s Nirra Fields and Spain’s Anna Cruz at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photo: Getty Images and UBC

We can celebrate athletes while also challenging gender stereotypes

When it comes to women and girls in sports, representation matters.  “We’ve got incredible women athletes who get a lot of well-deserved media attention during the Olympic Games,” says Dr. Andrea Bundon, an Associate Professor at the UBC School of Kinesiology, who studies media representation of motherhood in sports . But how they are portrayed also matters, as does the coverage they receive in the years between Olympic games.

Dr. Bundon says that during the Olympics, Canadian coverage of men’s and women’s events is about equal. “But once the Olympics stop, you turn on TSN or CBC sports or any American sports channel, and we’re back to only about 5 per cent or 10 per cent of coverage of sports is women’s coverage.”

Media coverage can reinforce or challenge gender stereotypes, influence who we consider a role model, and shape how girls and women experience sports. That’s why Dr. Bundon urges people watch the Olympics with a critical eye, while also celebrating women in sports.

“What stories is the media telling?” she asks. “What stories are they not telling? And what does that say about the broader cultural shifts or social values?”

Read more about gender equality in sports media, or watch the video by the UBC Centre for Sport and Sustainability, below.

Discover why the Paris 2024 Olympics are pivotal for gender equity in amateur and recreational sports.


Carolyn Ali is a writer for UBC Brand and Marketing. This article was published on June 19, 2024. Feel free to republish the text of this article, but please follow our guidelines for attribution and seek any necessary permissions before doing so. Please note that images are not included in this blanket licence.

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