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GENDER BIAS IN LITHUANIAN MEDIA: A CONTENT AND QUANTITY ANALYSIS
Organisation responsible: National Olympic Committee of Lithuania
Main topic addressed: Communication and media
Type of resource/practice: Research and study
Target group(s): Lithuanian Media
Timing: Analysis of 2013—2016 data
Brief description of the practice: We know how many women are in politics – which positions they have, what are their duties and responsibilities. We have reports about differences between how much men and women earn, what men and women prefer to study, how active businesswomen in cities and smaller regions are, etc. However, we don’t know, and we don’t have any data on how men and women (athletes) are presented in Lithuanian media, what the opinion of sport fans is about men and women sport, competitions, and achievements and so on. The analysis of Gender bias in Lithuanian media helped us to set the objectives and to plan actions to improve the situation.
Content and objectives:
- Evaluate online-published information about the Lithuanian Olympic Team candidates according to the athlete's gender.
- Assess sports competitions content, broadcast via Lithuanian TV channels by athletes’ gender.
- Find out what people think about women's competitions, or if they are only interested in broadcast of men's competitions; to understand why people are interested in women's competitions; to find out whether people want to see more sports events where women are participating, or think that their broadcast level is enough.
- 2016 Rio Lithuanian Olympic team candidates.
- TV broadcast sports events.
- 18-60 years old Internet users.
Steps/activities of the practice: Content of analysis:
- The quantity of articles describing female and male athletes during the research period.
- Articles mentioning female and male athletes were categorised in terms of topics: SPORT or OTHER INFORMATION.
- Articles under OTHER INFORMATION topics were divided into corresponding sub-topics: Education, Relationships, etc. or Beauty, Fashion style, Photo sessions.
- Analysis of the TV guides of below-mentioned TV channels in print. Report providing the quantity of female vs. male matches during the period analysed.
- 2013 – 2014:Web posts.
- January 2014– 1 March 2015: Sports events broadcast on TV.
- 12-24 February 2016: id.
Resources required: The research costs were around 10,000 euros. Two people co-ordinated the research – a public relations officer and a project manager.
Achievements and outcomes: Summary of the results:
Lithuanian male athletes were mentioned 4.5 times more than female athletes.
- 6% of messages were about athletes of both genders.
- 94% of posts were about athletes – in sports context.
- Analysing the content of sport information according to athletes’ gender, men were mentioned slightly more often than women. Men's mentions in a sports context consisted of 94%, and women's – 92%.
- Comparing the content of non-sport related messages according to athletes’ gender, differences were found: men most often cited in context of family (29%), in entertainment (24%) and in lifestyle (21%). Meanwhile, women were mentioned in lifestyle (36%), social activities (21 %) and entertainment (18%) context.
- Men's sports dominates on Lithuanian TV channels. It consisted of 97%of all broadcast sports events.
- Even 65% of respondents think that both genders can achieve equally important results in sport. While 27% of respondents believe that male athletes can achieve more than female athletes, and only 1% support the opinion, that female athletes achieve more than male.
- More than half (55%) of the respondents agreed with the opinion that Lithuanian channels broadcast too few women’s sports competitions. However, only 45% of all respondents wanted to see more women’s sports competitions.
- 68% respondents from sports-interest groups agreed that there is a lack of broadcasting of women's sports competitions through Lithuanian TV channels and 55% of them want to see women's sports competitions more often.
- More than half of respondents (55%) said that they are more interested in watching the men's matches. It can be assumed that a large part of this group usually watches basketball. This sport has a long tradition in Lithuania, with many successes, more often associated with male teams.
- 37% of respondents are interested in watching both men and women's sports competitions. Most of the respondents say that it all depends on the type of sport, rather than the athlete's gender.
Challenges and limitations: It is assumed, that unlike men's sports (for example football, discus, basketball (in Lithuania’s case)), the sports in which women's achievements are higher are not purposefully promoted in Lithuania. Lithuanians do not associate any sports exclusively with women.
It is recommended to tell personal stories of successful athletes, female athletes to publicise all the achievements, to promote the sports in which women achieve more than men, and thus to create associations with women in sport.
Historically, men’s basketball is very popular in Lithuania. You can even watch matches every day. Unfortunately, we didn't think about counting separate data on this sport. There is a risk that interpretation of these results is misleading. Next time we will collect data together and separately about each sport.
Follow-up ideas and future plans: It was presented during an international conference for sport media representatives, published on the website of our National Olympic Committee and in the national sports journal. It will be used as a background for a new project: Towards Gender Balance with Media, which aims to create a portrayal guideline, workshops with media representatives and athletes and updated content and quantity analysis of Media.
Further information: http://www.ltok.lt/projektai-ir-renginiai/tarptautiniai-projektai/lyciu-lygybes-sporte-projektai/media-tyrimas/
Contact person: Vaida Masalskyte, email@example.com