Threepipe briefed to address gender divides in sport language

Threepipe has been chosen by Cambridge University Press to help address gender divides in the language of sport, as athletes around the world descend on Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games this week.

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A new study of English language by Cambridge University Press reveals wide discrepancies in how the media and fans alike talk about men and women in sport.

Using the Cambridge English Corpus (CEC) and the Sports Corpus, a multi-billion word database of written and spoken English language from a range of media and social media sources, specialists at Cambridge University Press have analysed millions of words relating to men and women and how they are described in language associated with the Olympic sports.

The report found that in the CEC, ‘men’ or ‘man’ is referenced twice as much as ‘woman’ or ‘women’, and in the Sports Corpus (a sub-section of words in relation to sport) men are mentioned almost three times more often than women.

The only context where women are mentioned more is to mark their sports as ‘other’. Men’s sport is often considered the default – for example, we are more inclined to refer to women’s football, whereas men’s football is just called football. According to the Sports Corpus, the sports where this is most likely to happen are: athletics, golf, horse-riding, sprinting, football and cycling.

The publishing company has briefed Threepipe to publicise the study in the lead up to and during the Olympics.

The research will also continue throughout the 2016 Olympics, with further findings to be released at the end of the month.

Threepipe co-founder Jim Hawker said: “This is a fascinating insight into how male and female athletes are viewed and talked about differently. We will be working closely with the Cambridge team to spot emerging trends throughout the Olympics and share these with key media.”

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