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Academic uses research to highlight gender inequality

Dr Elizabeth Pike, who heads up the Anita White Foundation, used her research to highlight gender inequality in the shortlist for the 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and said the event is just the tip of the male-dominated iceberg.

Dr Pike, who is also our Head of Sport Development and Management, said the issues raised by the shortlist are indicative of broader concerns with gender inequity in sports. This is particularly significant as the UK showcased its sporting prowess on a global stage at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. She backs up her comments about the BBC event  with research which shows there have been only 13 female individual winners since it began in 1954, approximately 20% of the total winners. In 2010, every single award winner was male.

Her research also extends to television coverage of the event, showing that only 10% of the total media coverage during the event is dedicated to women's sport.

The findings of her study have been published on the Anita White Foundation website, which was launched earlier in 2011 in honour of the woman who chaired the organising committee for the first world conference on women and sport hosted in the UK in 1994. Anita White also captained the England women's hockey team to World Cup victory but was never able to compete in the Olympics because the event was not open to women during the years she played.

Dr Pike said: “While this on-going gender inequality in sport persists despite decades of campaign and equity policies, the UK is at the forefront of initiatives to challenge these trends, and the Anita White Foundation is now the centre of an international network of scholars and activists who are working together in this field.”

The full report can be found on the Anita White Foundation website.