Despite the increasing participation and success of women in sport in Australia,
sportswomen continue to receive a significantly lower quantity of media coverage than
sportsmen. This thesis will examine the impact of the 2006 Senate inquiry ‘About time!
Women in sport and recreation in Australia’ and the 2010 Australian Sports Commission
(ASC) report ‘Towards a Level Playing Field: sport and gender in Australian media’,
which were designed to address the underrepresentation of sportswomen in the media.
Content analysis of The Sydney Morning Herald 1 sports section was conducted to quantify
the representation of sportswomen in 2005, prior to the inquiry, and in 2007 and 2011,
following the publication of the inquiry and report. This thesis highlights that, despite the
issue being deemed important enough to warrant a parliamentary inquiry and large-scale
government-backed research, the quantitative coverage of sportswomen in SMH has not
improved. Interviews with SMH sports journalists and an editor, combined with
academic scholarship, offer insights into why underrepresentation of sportswomen in
SMH still exists.