On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 7:55 PM, David Monniaux <David.Monniaux@free.fr> wrote:

I'm not a sports connoisseur, but if I go to a typical library, there is
a range of books on popular *male* sports. I can find biographies of
famous players, histories of major clubs, etc. A quick Amazon search for
instance shows me that they have a book on sale about the successes of
AS Saint-Etienne in the French football (that's soccer for Americans)
championship in 1976!

On the issue of notability and availability of men's versus women's top level teams, there are a number of issues at play. There are regional notability issues that make sourcing even more difficult, and then biases by a dominant editing pool that become enshrined.  (Look at the men's football league notability guidelines.)  There might be a lot of sources about Norwegian women fútbol  players in Norwegian newspapers.  These sources may be online, and easily accessible to anyone looking at Norwegian language newspapers.  But there is an inherent bias against automatic notability for leagues and players from non-English speaking countries, where English speaking players are not playing, and where English speaking fans are not following the league.


I do not find such books on female sports. In fact, if I look for a book
on the French women's soccer team on Amazon, I find something...
extracted from Wikipedia! (Recall that football is the most popular
sport in France...)

But most sports people I know wouldn't make their first stop at a bookstore unless they were looking for historical information. Most of the sport related activity happens around current players.  Hence, newspaper sources tend to be relied on heavily.

In short, for certain topics (e.g. male sports), there is a gazillion
books, biographies, and other source material readily available, while
for others (e.g. female sports) such sources are more difficult to find.

In the case of sports and for the most highly visible (re: national teams), this is not an issue of readily available but the relative volume of one compared to another.  http://www.google.com/trends/explore?hl=en-US&q=/m/01l3vx,+/m/06drlz&cmpt=q&content=1 is the Google trends for the French men's national team versus the women's national team. I went to Google news and searched for french men national soccer team and had 57,000 results.  I searched for french women national soccer team and had 43,200 results.  There is not an availability of sources issue.  In fact, there is likely sooooo much information that you actually need to filter.  The basics for national teams for many sports can also generally be filled out by the sport's governing bodies.  (FIFA is really, really excellent in this regards.  FIBA is also great.)  

I personally think that this is often an excuse because for certain topics, the sources are there but people are not utilizing them to create articles about women while they are out there creating them about men. Or when they aren't as accessible for both men and women, people are willing to go the extra length to try to create articles about the men's national team.  A quick search on Google news for Gabon men's national basketball team pulls up zero results.  Another search for Gabon women's national basketball team pulls up zero results. Guess which team has an article on English Wikipedia?

And how big of a role does that play anyway in article creation?  A while back, I looked at the Australian women's national soccer team players versus the men's national team players.   There were an average of 6.7 sources on women's articles and 19.6 for men.  Women's articles are more poorly sourced when looked at head to head, and I can guarantee you there is waaaaaay more available sources to take all articles about both sets all to FA if people were motivated, but no one appears to be motivated enough to do so even with available sources.

I would love to see research on source availability as a factor leading to the lack of creation of articles about women in head to head situations with their direct male counterparts.

Laura Hale

twitter: purplepopple