Women, Sports and Media: Careers, Coverage, and Consequences

Full papers or extended abstracts (2-3 pages) are invited for presentation at a conference Women, Sports and Media to be held at the University of Maryland, College Park, 21-20 April 2018.

We seek research on three key themes: women sports journalists; audiences for women’s sports; and coverage of women athletes. We are particularly interested in work that addresses intersections with race/ethnicity and sexuality, and that identifies possible implications, impacts and potential solutions to problems.
Among other topics, the following are relevant:

-The treatment of women in sports media. What challenges do women face in getting various media jobs? What (or who) accounts for these problems? Does the lack of women leaders or workplace hostility impact women’s sports media careers? How can university journalism programs help women become more competitive for jobs? What is the role of physical appearance for sports journalists (and women athletes)?

-Audience support for women’s sports and women sports journalists. Do women have distinctive interests; if so, are they being addressed? Should more or different content be created for girls and women?  Does the coverage of and for women affect women’s athletics at the high school, college, and professional levels, as well as internationally and at the Olympics? Are boys and men showing greater interest in women’s sports?

-The impact of pushback.  Do hosts or callers at radio talk shows trade in code words, sexist language and/or anti-women topics? Do sports visual manifest sexism? Can or should athletes or sports journalists comment on sexism or gender politics?

Keynotes will be presented by Claire Smith (first woman Major League Baseball beat writer, and first woman voted into the sportswriters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame) and Cheryl Cooky (Past-President, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport; Associate Professor, Purdue; co-author of No Slam Dunk: Gender, Sport, and the Unevenness of Social Change).

Please anonymize the abstract or paper and submit a separate title page with authors’ contact information, and indicating the corresponding author. Research may be included in a potential book. Contact Linda Steiner, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, with questions, at

Submissions should be sent to by 30 January 2018. Authors will get feedback and decision by the end of February 2018.