From basketball to archery, gymnastics to football, and boxing to fencing, in the 2016 Olympics, women athletes participate fully in almost every sporting event. Overall, 45% of the Olympic competitors are women. This year, the U.S. Olympic team includes the largest contingent of female athletes any nation has ever sent to the Olympic Games, featuring 292 women. At the same time, with all this progress and success for women athletes, there is a perception that the media coverage and commentary about the Olympics has been sexist and overloaded with stereotypes about girls and women including comparing women to men, giving their husbands credit for their successes, patronization and focusing on women’s bodies and appearance.
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the 2016 Olympics, reflect on what they’ve seen and heard, and assess the extent to which there is sexism and stereotypes in the coverage of the 2016 Olympics.