Gender Sensitivity in the Sports Page of Bangladesh Press
Sheikh Md. Shafiul Islam, Assistant Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication, Daffodil International University
A content analysis of the women sports news of five national dailies was conducted from 05 October to 08 November 2008. The objective of the content analysis was designed to find out and understand the coverage of the women sports news in the Bangladesh press and the position of the women journalists working in the sports beat.
The study measured the quantity, nature, treatment, source, way and quality of the women sports news along with the presentation of the women sportspersons' photographs during the study period. The content appeared in the selected dailies demonstrates that a total of 746 news items were published on the sports during the stated period. Among the published stuff, the Independent holds the top position with 13 news items on the women sports (7.38%) while the Daily Ittefaq is in the bottom without any item (00%). The findings show that the English Dailies cover more women sports news than that of the Bangla dailies. Of 31 news items on the women sports, 24 have been published in two English Dailies, The Daily Star and the Independent. Only 7 news items have been published in the Prothom Alo and Inqilab. The most frustrating finding of the study is that the Dality Ittefaq, being one of the leading and ancient newspapers of the country did not publish any news on women sports. The study reveals that a paradoxical role of the press is visibly noticed in their contents; invisibility of women and at the same time more visibility of the women. In some instances, the women are more visible and important than the male sports news especially in the cases of creating sensation. The press at the same time is very habituated consciously or unconsciously to present the women as passive, sex symbol, helpless, fashionable and victims while in the women are absent in the real competition of the sports and laborious practice of the sports. This trend of the press is very much noticeable in the presentation of the photographs where they are usually presented as the passive, fashionable, sex symbol and object of appealing. The study also revealed that the sports pages of the studied newspapers are mostly carried out and strongly controlled by the male sports journalists. Out of 32 sports journalists working for the sports pages of the dailies, 31 are male while the rest one (3.1%) is a female sports journalist working in the Independent as a sub-editor.