User:LauraHale/As Australia's men prepare for FIFA World Cup, few women contributing to articles about Australia's women's team

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Picture of Matilda player Lisa De Vanna that appears at the top of her English Wikipedia article
Image: Camw.
Picture of Socceroos player Tim Cahill that appears at the top of his English Wikipedia article
Image: Camw.

With Australia's men's national soccer team having been placed in their 2014 FIFA World Cup group last week and following up on Saturday's interview with Steve Redhead, today Wikinews investigated the differences between Australia's men's (Socceroos) and women's (Matildas) national soccer team articles on Wikipedia, finding that, self-identified women were slightly more likely to make edits on articles about the Matildas than then Socceroos at 2.8% of all edits compared to 1.2%. According to the Wikimedia Foundation, women make up 10% of all English Wikipedia editors.

The national team articles themselves have similar gender imbalances in total edits at 2.8% and 1.7%. Data on percentage of male and female made edits to articles was attained by Wikinews using WikiTrip. Currently men's national team player articles overall are of higher quality, contain more pictures and have more citations.

The Socceroos are currently getting international attention following last week's 2014 FIFA World Cup draw which placed the 59th FIFA ranked team in the same group as top FIFA ranked Spain, fifteenth ranked Chile and the ninth ranked Netherlands. The Matildas were in the news late last month, following their AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2014 draw which saw them placed in the group with Japan, Vietnam and Jordan.

The issue of sexism in soccer also came up as a result of the FIFA World Cup draw, with The Telegraph criticizing the selection of Miss Peru Fernanda Lima, a woman with no previous background in sport, as a presenter for the draw. England women's national football team player Casey Stone is quoted by The Telegraph as saying of the selection of Lima as a presenter, "Giving the job to a model has sent out completely the wrong message. Unfortunately I wasn't surprised." A number of other women were quoted by the publication who felt her inclusion was sexist. FIFA denied sexism played any role in her selection, though FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in 2004 that a way to promote the women's game would be for women to wear tighter shorts.

The most popular Socceroos and Matildas articles to edit by total gender participation

The list for top ten total number of male edits by Australian men and women individual player articles has no female players in the top ten. On the female editor side, Lisa De Vanna, Katrina Gorry, Samantha Kerr, Collette McCallum and Stephanie Catley all appear.

A sample of fifty non-Australian soccer articles taken today found 16.3% of all edits to Australian articles where gender of the editor was available were made by women, with only Victoria (Australia), Sydney Opera House, Queensland, Australian dollar, Australian Greens, The Ashes and Bananas in Pyjamas having less than 3% of all edits made by women. Chris Hemsworth, Lauren Jackson, Nicole Franklin, Australian Paralympic Committee, Hugh Jackman, Australian Cattle Dog, Netball in Australia, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Canberra Roller Derby League, Rebel Wilson, Women's basketball in Australia, The Wiggles and Kylie Gauci all had 25% of more of the edits made by women.

The average Matildas player article had 6.7 sources, 1.1 pictures, 55 total edits and 26.75 total contributors compared to the 20.5 sources, 1.4 pictures, 608 total edits and 279 total contributors for the Socceroos. Using English Wikipedia's internal assessment process, the overall quality as defined by the community was higher for the men with 22% being assessed as C or better, meaning the article would be useful to the casual reader. In contrast, the women's only 4% of the Matildas articles are C are better. In contrast, 66% of articles about Matildas players are stub, meaning they "Provides very little meaningful content;". 31% of the Socceroos articles are assessed as Stubs.

Articles about Matildas players are also newer, with 14 being created in 2009 and 4 created in 2013. The earliest Matildas article dates to 2007. One current member of the Matildas squad had no article as of the time of writing this Wikinews article. In contrast, articles exist for all current Socceroos players, with the earliest article dating to 2004, 5 of the 22 articles created in 2005, 6 in 2006, 3 in 2007 and the most recent created in 2012. No articles were created in 2011. 2 articles were created in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Stine Eckert and Linda Steiner in Media (dis) parity: A Gender Battleground published this year cited an existing body of research that cites Wikipedia's overall editing female gendered participation base at around 12.6%. The authors cite the lack of female participation on Wikipedia as part of a wider problem faced in efforts at knowledge production, where women's participation has been intentionally marginalized by men.

Wikipedia has been defined by a number of academics as a form of journalism and media. Andrew Lih did this in his 2004 paper for the Paper for the 5th International Symposium on Online Journalism. The comparison has been made many times since.

The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport based at the at the University of Minnesota produced a documentary airing this month on tptMN that found only 2-4% of all sport media coverage featured women.

A report published last month by Diana Mitsu Klos of the Women’s Media Center found similar patterns of heavy male involvement in sport media. The report says in the United States, most sport talk radio hosts are men, with no female hosts appearing on the list of most popular until number 62 where Sandra Golden is part of a four person show. Ann Van Dyken is the only other woman on the list of female US sport radio hosts at number 93. The report said the 2010-11 Associated Press Sports Editors Racial and Gender Report Card said that 94% of sports editors were men, and 90 percent of assistant sports editors and sport columnist were men.

Also last month, Sports Illustrated hosted a debate examining the role of women in sports media and how they are systematically disadvantaged. Andrea Kremer, NFL Network chief correspondent, said as part of this debate that, "I believe that in the sports media, it's still "easiest" to be a white male." She went on to say, "The double standard still exists. If a man makes a mistake, he misspoke. If a woman errs, she doesn't know what she's talking about."

Earlier this month, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the United Kingdom Parliament held its second oral evidence session to examine television and the printed media promotion of women in sport, with scheduled witnesses including Director of Sport at BBC Barbara Slater, Chief Marketing and Communications Manager at Channel 4 Dan Brooke, Executive Editor at Sky Sports News and BSkyB Andy Cairns, sports journalist Andrew Longmore and Sports Journalists Association Treasurer Sarah Juggins.


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