Skip links
Majority of athletes abused on social media are women

Record audiences for women sports but gender gaps persist

Women’s sport is registering record audiences across a wide range of sports according to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). With the Paris Olympic Games just weeks away, UN Women notes that “for the first time in Olympic history, women athletes will have as many places in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as male athletes.” But the gender gap persists: No women feature among the Forbes 2024 list of 100 highest-paid athletes in the world and prize money for women’s sport continues to lag behind men’s.

In 2023, the Women’s World Cup awarded USD 150 million in prize money, a 300% increase over 2019, but still only about a third of the USD 440 million the men got in Qatar 2022.

UN Women says the equal number of places in Paris for women and men is an achievement that shows the extraordinary trajectory of women’s sport since the first modern games featuring female athletes in 1900, where women represented just 2.2% of competing athletes.”

“Although media coverage of female athletes has nearly tripled in the last three years, women still receive far less coverage (just 16% of total sports coverage) than their male counterparts. Increasing the visibility of female athletes is essential to providing more role models in sports who can inspire girls to continue playing.”

The report notes that almost 73% say they watch women’s sports at least a few times a year, not far behind the percentage who watch men’s sports with the same frequency (81%).

Read Also:  Popularity of women's sports stressed in tech and media forecast

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 attracted the largest audience for women’s sports in history, reaching approximately 2 billion people.

”Girls who play sports tend to stay in school, delay pregnancy, and get better jobs, according to UN Women.

A report from consultancy Deloitte shows that 85% of surveyed women who played sports as children believe the skills they developed were crucial to their professional success. This rises to 91% for women in leadership roles, and 93% for those earning USD 100,000 or more.

However, girls drop out of sports by age 14 at twice the rate of boys due to social expectations, lack of investment in quality programmes, and other factors.

For example, 21% of female professional athletes have experienced sexual abuse at least once as children in sport, compared with 11% of male athletes, the UN Women report shows.

From the UN report:

  • 88%of sports fans regard pro women athletes as impactful role models for young women.
    Fans are 2.8 times more likely to purchase a product recommended by a woman athlete rather than by another type of influencer.
  • According to World Athletics, female athletes have a 14% larger social media following than male athletes and recorded a four per cent spike in the number of Google news searches of female athletes in 2023 compared to 2022.
  • But barriers and gender bias persist. According to the Sport Integrity Global Alliance, only 26.9% of executive positions in international sport federations are held by women. Of the 31 International Sports Federations surveyed just three had women at the helm.
  • In the International Olympic Committee, 41% of members are female.
  • Gender-equal representation on IOC commissions was reached in 2022 – 100 per cent increase since 2013.
  • A real gender gap still exists among coaches and leadership roles within the athletes’ entourage. The representation of women holding leadership roles such as Chef de Mission, Technical Official, and coach will remain remarkably low in Paris. At Tokyo 2020, only 13% of coaches were women.
  • Tennis was the first sport to guarantee equal prize money for major tournaments. The US Open started this in 1973, due to Billie Jean King’s advocacy and the creation of the Women’s Tennis Association. Since then, all four major tennis tournaments (US Open, Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon) have adopted equal prize money.
  • The Professional Squash Association, World Surf League, and a handful of other professional sports have also equalised men’s and women’s prize money.
  • Norway became the first country in 2017 to offer male and female football players equal pay when representing the country in international games in a standard-setting move that has since been adopted by other football associations across the world including Brazil, Wales, and Australia.
  • The US Women’s National Soccer Team in 2022 secured a landmark equal pay settlement after a years-long legal battle that set an equal pay rate in all international games.
  • However, many women’s teams still struggle with deep inequality. A recent study by FIFPRO, the global professional footballers’ union, found that 29% of women players who responded had not received any payments from their national teams for World Cup qualifying tournaments.
Read Also:  Gender byline bias: how women sports reporters struggle


Moonshot News is an independent European news website for all IT, Media and Advertising professionals, powered by women and with a focus on driving the narrative for diversity, inclusion and gender equality in the industry.

Our mission is to provide top and unbiased information for all professionals and to make sure that women get their fair share of voice in the news and in the spotlight!

We produce original content, news articles, a curated calendar of industry events and a database of women IT, Media and Advertising associations.

    Do you want an experienced opinion on a job issue?
    Moonshot Manager is here to answer!

      Moonshot community sharing thoughts and ideas, in a anonymous, safe environment.