— Published 13 August 2021

Women got great screen presence


The Tokyo Olympics will not only be remembered in the United States for its sanitary conditions and the absence of spectators on competition venues. They are also expected to be a turning point in gender balance. Women made up almost 54% of the US delegation. They won 58.4% of Team USA’s medals, including 23 gold. Most importantly, they set a new record for television coverage. According to a study conducted by three communications experts, nearly 60% (59.1%) of NBC’s prime-time coverage of the Tokyo Games was devoted to women’s and mixed events. A record. At the Rio Games in 2016, the figure was just under 58%. The Tokyo Games were the third consecutive Games where women’s disciplines got more prime-time space than men’s sports. But the US academics’ study also points out that NBC’s coverage was not sexism-free. For women’s events, the images focused on average ten times more on “an athlete’s body and/or a specific part of her anatomy” than in men’s competitions.