Guinness and Wikipedia to tackle rugby gender disparity

16 Apr 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

Guinness has partnered with Wikimedia UK in a bid to tackle the lack of representation of women in sport.

As part of the brand’s Never Settle campaign, the pair will work together to ensure that every member of the competing home nation squads for this year’s Women’s Six Nations Finals Weekend is properly recorded on Wikipedia.

Guinness has highlighted the fact that only 6% of sports media coverage in the UK is dedicated to female athletes and teams, with ust 18% of all biographies on Wikipedia of women. Indeed, the brand says the gap widens further in sport where just 3% of 14,916 rugby related biographies are of female players. The current Guinness Six Nations men’s squads have 392% more words devoted to them than their female counterparts.

The brand also points out that only 30% of the current Women’s Six Nation squad players have a presence on Wikipedia at all, while of those who did, some 86% didn’t have an image or more than a very basic biography. 

In addition, the international team pages see a ‘stark disparity’ across the men’s and women’s games, with the current male rugby squads receiving more than 9,000 words on their page, whereas the women’s teams have on average just 900.

In order to tackle the inequality, Guinness has invited Wikipedia editors, women’s rugby fans, writers, and journalists to take part in the campaign, adding to the stories of past and present personalities. 

The brand says it is also working with players ‘on a global scale’ to update their Twitter profiles, ensuring they are in line with the new verification standards. According to Guinness, this will provide female players with the same platform to build connections with their fans, and will also help to improve and increase conversation about the players and the sport globally. 

In the last twelve months, out of the 307,541 tweets mentioning rugby or the six nations globally, only 10% of those were about the women’s game.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with GUINNESS for this project, to shine a light on women’s rugby players and their achievements,” said Lucy Crompton-Reid, CEO, Wikimedia UK. 

“As the UK charity for the global Wikimedia movement, we are well aware of the gender gap online – which reflects systemic bias and historical inequalities – and are working with a wide range of partners to increase the representation of women on Wikipedia.”

Neil Shah, Head of Guinness GB added: “We know it’s hard to be what you can’t see. We believe the first step in increasing the visibility for women’s rugby players in line with the men’s game is spotlighting who they are – this step will make getting to know them easier than ever by bringing their stories to Wikipedia.”