GUINNESS has today announced its plans to tackle the lack of visibility for women’s sport and specifically representation of women in rugby, pledging to Never Settle until everyone belongs in sport.
Ahead of the Women’s Six Nations Finals Weekend, which takes place on Saturday 24th April, GUINNESS has partnered with Wikimedia to ensure that every member of the competing squads across Ireland and the UK is properly recorded on the site viewed by 18 billion globally every month – adding over 135,000 words to their profiles.
Just 18% of biographies on Wikipedia are of women, but this gap widens further in sport where just 3% of 14,916 rugby related biographies are of female players and the current GUINNESS Six Nations men’s squads have 392% more words devoted to them than their female counterparts.
In Ireland, just 17% of the current Women’s Six Nations squad have a presence on Wikipedia, and for those that do, none of the profiles include an image of the player. International team pages see a stark disparity also, with the current male rugby squad receiving more than 6,000 words on their page, whereas the women’s team have just over 1,500.
With 6% of sports coverage in Ireland dedicated to female athletes and teams, the shortage of data and information on women’s players needs to be tackled so that the disparity in representation within the sporting community can be closed.
Despite positive shifts in the representation and coverage of women’s sport in 2019, national lockdowns have undoubtedly slowed the momentum despite more interest in the women’s game than ever before.
GUINNESS has invited Wikipedia editors, women’s rugby fans, writers and journalists to take part in the campaign, adding to the stories of past and present personalities.
GUINNESS is also working with players on a global scale to update their Twitter profiles, ensuring they are in line with the new verification standards.
Not only will this provide female players with the same platform to build connections with their fans, the media and sporting community that their male colleagues have, but will work to improve and increase conversation about the players and the sport globally. In the last twelve months, out of the 307,541 tweets mentioning rugby or the six nations globally, only 10% of those were about the women’s sport.
Alan McAleenan, Guinness Marketing Director, Ireland said:
“Visibility is a significant barrier when it comes to ensuring sport is a place where everyone can belong. It’s hard to be what you can’t see, so a critical step towards driving equity for women’s rugby players is giving them a platform to spotlight who they are – this step will make getting to know the players easier than ever by partnering with Wikimedia to tell their stories. Through our partnership and the other dedicated activity across the Women’s Six Nations fixtures we will be helping to drive the visibility of the game and its players, attracting new fans and enabling everyone to get to know the Ireland squad a little better.”
This year, the Women’s Six Nations will not take place at the same time as the men’s championship, so building the profile of the players is key to attracting a wider fan base and encouraging more equity in coverage of women’s sport.
As partner of the Women’s Six Nations, Guinness will also continue its support of the Player of the Championship in 2021.