Cornell Study Attempts to Quantify Sexism in Sports Media


Cornell Study Attempts to Quantify Sexism in Sports Media

Liye Fu, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil and Lillian Lee of Cornell University recently released their study: “Using language models to quantify gender bias in sports journalism“.

The researchers ran an algorithm to analyze the differences in word usage
during pre- and post-game press conferences with professional tennis players. When they completed their study, they found that:

 “journalists ask male players questions that are generally more focused on the game when compared with the questions they ask their female counterparts… [However] it is conceivable that the disparities we observe are explained by differences in the journalists that are assigned to conduct the respective interviews”.

So, their findings had two basic interpretations:

  • A.) Sports journalists treat don’t treat female athletes with the same respect they reserve for male athletes, or:
  • B.) Media companies hire crappier journalists to cover women’s sports
Of course, these studies are limited since they only apply to tennis; however, tennis is one of the few major sports where women’s and men’s categories receive similar levels of coverage.  So, take it with a grain of salt, but the findings are still quite interesting…