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Why The Media Deserves A Red Card At The Women's World Cup

Coverage of the Women's World Cup has been more about the athletes' personal lives than sport. Once again, sexism in sport is on fully display.

Two women soccer players celebrating.

Eva Navarro (Spain) post game celebration after Tuesday's match.

Kim Price/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire
Ana Flores


The competition for the 2023 Women's Soccer World Cup, which began on July 20 and concludes on August 20 in Australia and New Zealand, has already caused several controversies. Days prior to the first match, the United Nations and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) estimated that there would be an audience of two million people.

Despite initial enthusiasm for the “Unite for gender equality," the media once again showed its lack of interest, commitment and professionalism to strengthening international guidelines against discrimination.

Weeks before the opening match between New Zealand and Norway, the conglomerates of the Global North revealed what, apparently, is the only reason they have for promoting women's sport: monetary benefits.

Broadcast rights

In May, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and public relations director Bryan Swanson reported that broadcasters in the big five in the European markets (Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and France) were not willing to pay huge amounts for broadcast rights. The amounts are equivalent to 1% and 3% of what they invested for Qatar 2022.

In Latin America, the no-broadcasting warning was more subtle in financial terms, but just as violent in symbolic terms. Added to the very limited offer, the private companies in charge of the broadcasts (TUDN and Vix) barely promoted the matches.

The actors involved resorted to the argument that time differences were an obstacle to reaching audiences.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino in the stands.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino before the semi-final match between Spain and Sweden at the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 15, 2023.

Zhu Wei/Xinhua via ZUMA Press

Sexism in sport

The lack of coverage does not only come from the television conglomerates. Sports journalism has not missed opportunities to score their sexist goals.

Websites have focused their efforts in making the private lives of the athletes the axis of one of the oldest and most sexist narrative resources of media: fights and enmity between women.

This formula, so common among producers and show runners incapable of offering a dignified representation of women, is compounded by the resistance of "professionals" to refer to us as players, referees, coaches and champions.

In its early days, the coverage of the Women's World Cup exposed two of the strategies with which media violence is present: 1) the gossip and spectacle-centric coverage of the sportswomen as sexualized and 2) the condescension behind words like "warriors" or "lionesses".

We are tired of our history being narrated from the myth of exceptionality. Or from terms that do not bother those who have never wanted us — or will want us — on the pitch.

For many women, the battle against patriarchy begins on the pitch.

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The Problem With Always Blaming Climate Change For Natural Disasters

Climate change is real, but a closer look at the science shows there are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters. It is important to raise awareness about the long-term impact of global warming, but there's a risk in overstating its role in the latest floods or fires.

People on foot, on bikes, motorcycles, scooters and cars navigate through a flooded street during the day time.

Karachi - People wade through flood water after heavy rain in a southern Pakistani city

Xinhua / ZUMA
Axel Bojanowski


BERLIN — In September, thousands of people lost their lives when dams collapsed during flooding in Libya. Engineers had warned that the dams were structurally unsound.

Two years ago, dozens died in floods in western Germany, a region that had experienced a number of similar floods in earlier centuries, where thousands of houses had been built on the natural floodplain.

Last year saw more than 1,000 people lose their lives during monsoon floods in Pakistan. Studies showed that the impact of flooding in the region was exacerbated by the proximity of human settlements, the outdated river management system, high poverty rates and political instability in Pakistan.

There are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters, but one dominates the headlines: climate change. That is because of so-called attribution studies, which are published very quickly after these disasters to highlight how human-caused climate change contributes to extreme weather events. After the flooding in Libya, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described climate change as a “serial offender," while the Tageszeitung wrote that “the climate crisis has exacerbated the extreme rainfall."

The World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA) has once again achieved its aim of using “real-time analysis” to draw attention to the issue: on its website, the institute says its goal is to “analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events." Frederike Otto, who works on attribution studies for the WWA, says these reports help to underscore the urgent need for climate action. They transform climate change from an “abstract threat into a concrete one."

In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related disaster, teams of researchers rush to put together attribution studies – “so that they are ready within the same news cycle," as the New York Times reported. However, these attribution studies do not meet normal scientific standards, as they are published without going through the peer-review process that would be undertaken before publication in a specialist scientific journal. And that creates problems.

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