Nahuel Ivan Faedo
El papel de las mujeres en la producción de piezas
periodísticas: análisis de Mundo Deportivo y Marca
durante Qatar 2022
The role of women in the production
of journalistic pieces: analysis of
Mundo Deportivo and Marca during
Qatar 2022
Universitat de Vic-Universitat Central de Catalunya
Graduate in Social Communication. Predoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Business and
Communication of the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia. He is a member
of the research group TRACTE (Audiovisual Translation, Communication and Territory). His
research focuses on sports journalism and mainly on the analysis of the roles played by
women journalists in this discipline.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5158-7882
RECEIVED: 2023-06-05 / ACCEPTED: 2023-09-27
Nahuel Ivan Faedo
OBRA DIGITAL, Núm. 13, Septiembre 2017 - Enero 2018, pp.97-118, e-ISSN 2014-5039
OBRA DIGITAL, 24, December 2023, pp. 93-104, e-ISSN 2014-5039
DOI: https://doi.org/10.25029/od.2023.388.24
Historically, both in Spain and internationally,
the role of female journalists in the media has
been characterized by being scarce and ste-
reotyped. This poor representation has been
called on numerous occasions as a “symbolic
annihilation” (Gerbner and Gross, 1976; Tuch-
man, 2000). The invisibility of women has been
carried out mainly in the eld of sports journal-
ism, which has been congured as a dicult
space for women to access and develop pro-
fessionally (Ramon et al., 2020; Sainz de Baran-
da, 2013).
The article aims to analyse the role played by
women sports journalists in the production
of journalistic pieces published in the Spanish
sports press during the FIFA World Cup Qatar
2022. The research was based on a quantita-
tive content analysis that studied the infor-
mation published between November 20 and
December 18, 2022, the period in which the
sporting event was held. The results indicate,
among other things, a poor presence of female
journalists in the production of articles, a low
number of women designated to work with in-
formation about Qatar 2022 and a limited pres-
ence of female journalists both in the creation
of opinion articles and also in the authorship of
The role of women in the production of journalistic pieces: analysis of Mundo
Deportivo and Marca during Qatar 2022
the information that appears on the front pag-
es of the newspapers.
Keywords: Sports journalism, women jour-
nalists, Marca, Mundo Deportivo, FIFA, Qatar.
Históricamente, tanto en el ámbito español
como en el internacional, el rol de las periodis-
tas en los medios de comunicación se ha ca-
racterizado por ser ínmo y estereotipado. Esta
escasa representación se ha denominado, en
numerosas oportunidades, como una “aniqui-
lación simbólica” (Gerbner y Gross, 1976; Tuch-
man, 2000). La invisibilización de las mujeres se
ha llevado a cabo principalmente en el campo
del periodismo deportivo, el cual se ha congu-
rado como un espacio difícil para que las muje-
res accedan y se desarrollen profesionalmente
(Ramon et al., 2020; Sainz de Baranda, 2013).
El siguiente artículo tiene como objetivo ana-
lizar el papel que cumplieron las periodistas
deportivas en la producción de piezas periodís-
ticas publicadas en la prensa deportiva espa-
ñola durante la Copa Mundial de la FIFA Qatar
2022. La investigación se basó en un análisis de
contenido cuantitativo que estudió las informa-
ciones publicadas entre el 20 de noviembre y
el 18 de diciembre de 2022, período en el que
se disputó dicho evento. Los resultados indi-
can, entre otras cosas, una pobre presencia de
las periodistas en la producción de artículos,
una escasa cantidad de mujeres designadas a
trabajar con informaciones sobre Qatar 2022
y una presencia limitada de mujeres periodis-
tas, tanto en la creación de artículos de opinión
como también en la autoría de las informacio-
nes que aparecen en las portadas de los pe-
Palabras claves: Periodismo deportivo, mu-
jeres periodistas, Marca, Mundo Deportivo,
FIFA, Qatar.
Sports journalism has historically been charac-
terized as a section with several ethical dysfunc-
tions: low diversity of the sports agenda, gender
inequalities, and informative sexism (Franks &
O’Neill, 2016; Ramon et al., 2020). In the specif-
ic case of women, although it is true that, over
time, there has been progress regarding their
work, it continues to be a male-dominated site
(Bernstein & Kian, 2013; Faedo et al., 2022).
In Spain, despite the arrival of new technolo-
gies and communication platforms, the sports
press has a fundamental role within the jour-
nalistic industry. It continues to have a large
number of followers today (Faedo et al., 2022).
Within this sports press, and sports journalism
in general, the sport that completely dominates
the panorama is soccer, which causes other ac-
tivities to end up being displaced from the me-
dia agenda (Rojas-Torrijos, 2012).
The latest major soccer-related sporting event
has been the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Pre-
cisely, this tournament has been characterized
by a large number of controversies in terms
of human rights. It has come to be called The
World Cup of Shame (Amnesty International,
2016). It has been criticized on numerous oc-
casions for, among other things, homopho-
bic attitudes and the absence of fundamental
rights of migrant workers and women (Arrung,
2022). Therefore, what was the role of women
journalists in the Spanish sports press at the
time of the event? The general objective of this
research is to analyze the role played by female
sports journalists in the production of journalis-
tic pieces published in the Spanish sports press
during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Nahuel Ivan Faedo
Since its origins, journalistic information has
been congured as a men-dominated site
(Beasley, 2020). The case of sports journalism
is no exception: gender inequalities and in-
formative sexism are characteristics that have
always been present (Franks & O’Neill, 2016).
Hardin and Shain (2006) point out that women
are outsiders about their gender but insiders
regarding compliance with journalistic norms
and values. This poor representation of women
journalists has been referred to, on numerous
occasions, as “symbolic annihilation”, which ex-
plains that, by ignoring and/or portraying wom-
en in stereotypical roles, the media do nothing
more than symbolically annihilate them (Gerb-
ner & Gross, 1976; Tuchman, 2000).
Since sports is a male-dominated space, this
has a direct impact on the eld of journalism:
men “own” sports journalism because they
“own” sports (Everbach, 2018; Hardin & Shain,
2006). Therefore, the presence of women in
this journalistic specialization is scarce, as ex-
plained by dierent research. Generally speak-
ing, as Schoch (2022) observes, studies expose
invisibilization, gender discrimination, the dif-
culties they face regarding the reconciliation
between work and family, the unbreakable
glass ceiling, and the need for female reporters
to constantly struggle to obtain recognition and
keep their jobs (Hardin & Shain, 2006; Organis-
ta et al., 2019).
Franks and O’Neill (2016) studied six national
newspapers in the United Kingdom (UK) and
found that only 2.3% of the stories were creat-
ed by women. In Schoch’s (2020) analysis, only
9% of the articles analyzed were written exclu-
sively by women. The Women’s Media Center
(2021), which studies gender representation
in print, digital, and wire news, reported that in
2021, women produced 15% of sports news in
newspapers, 24% in online media, and 8% of
news in wire services.
Regarding the performance of roles at the top
of management, women have few possibilities
of obtaining a position due to a “glass ceiling.”
As explained by Sarrió et al. (2002), this ceiling
functions as a barrier supported by gender ste-
reotypes that assume that the traits of an ideal
manager are those prototypical of masculinity
and that, therefore, do not allow women to ac-
cess positions in media management.
On the other hand, it often happens that wom-
en work with “soft” news while men work with
“hard” news. As explained by Schoch (2020),
Tuchman (1972), and Van Zoonen (1998), the
former are those with little news prestige, and
the latter are those with a high level of journal-
istic and public interest. Consequently, wom-
en report more frequently on, for example,
women’s sports, which are considered not very
prestigious and of less appeal to the audience
(Boczek et al., 2022; Organista et al., 2019).
In Spain, talking about women in journalism
necessarily implies talking about unequal op-
portunities (Ufarte, 2012). Numerous studies
show women’s scarce and stereotyped pres-
ence in the Spanish sports media.
Through a study on hate speech on Spanish
women sports journalists on Twitter, Blanco et
al. (2019) collected dire gures: 89.6% of the
journalists participating in the study have expe-
rienced violence in the course of their work, and
half of them have suered it continuously. Hate
The role of women in the production of journalistic pieces: analysis of Mundo
Deportivo and Marca during Qatar 2022
speech not only aects them emotionally but
also damages their personal and professional
reputation. In addition, they harm them in their
work and safety, as they ultimately restrict their
freedom of expression (Blanco et al., 2019).
According to Ramon et al. (2020), who, through
interviews, inquired about the opinion of var-
ious experts in sports journalism on gender
discrimination, women incorporated into the
sports journalism profession are a minority.
These authors point out that the journalists in-
terviewed are aware that they are perceived as
anecdotal elements, that their physical appear-
ance is an essential factor in the eyes of men,
and that “their interest in sports journalism is
interpreted more from stereotypes (maybe
‘because they like some sportsperson’) rather
than really as a professional option” (p. 1190).
In addition, it is necessary to de-masculinize
the newsrooms, which involves breaking the
glass ceiling and getting more women into de-
cision-making positions (Ramon et al., 2020).
Sainz de Baranda (2013), in a longitudinal in-
vestigation of the sports press, points out that
women represent only 9.1% of the total num-
ber of female news bylines. On the other hand,
despite an increase of women as reporters
(mainly as editors) over the years, we cannot
observe an increase in positions of responsibil-
ity such as the direction or sub-direction of a
newspaper. In the same way, Ortega and San
Miguel (2016) and Salido Fernández (2021) pro-
nounce themselves. Men prevail in all Spanish
sports television journalism roles: anchor, re-
porter, and voice-over (Ortega & San Miguel,
2016). In addition, women who enter a profes-
sion as masculine as sports journalism do so
with rigorous limitations and requirements (Sa-
lido Fernández, 2021).
Concerning decision-making positions, Caro et
al. (2004), some years ago, and Román-San-
Miguel et al. (2021), more recently, showed that
the number of women in management posi-
tions in the Spanish sports media is scarce. Few
women are in positions of responsibility and,
when they do exist, they do not even occupy
50% of the management team (Román-San-
Miguel et al., 2021). The authors explain that
there is not a single woman in a management
position who holds the position of director, and
the highest level to which a woman reaches
is deputy director. Consequently, since they
do not have roles at the top and, in general
terms, their presence is not numerous in the
newsrooms, rather than feminization within the
press, there is a “pseudo-feminization”; that is,
an appearance of change rather than a funda-
mental transformation (Soriano et al., 2005).
On the other hand, Faedo et al. (2022), in an
investigation on the work of women in Marca
and Mundo Deportivo, explain that the informa-
tive production of women in the Spanish sports
press shows resistance in the newsrooms that
reproduce a journalistic culture that does not
allow their incorporation in the production of
content. In addition, they report that there has
been a regression in the number of women
who sign reports. It is more feasible for a wom-
an to write an article in 2010 than in 2018. In
addition, they tend to work with informative ar-
ticles but not with opinion articles.
Along the same lines, an analysis by Alonso-Al-
lende et al. (2019) shows that, out of 3,304
opinion pieces studied during a month in 25
Nahuel Ivan Faedo
newspapers, only 21% were written by women.
Although male authorship dominates in all cat-
egories, this dierence is more pronounced in
sports content: while women participate in 10%
of these, men do so in the remaining 90%.
Furthermore, it is wise to point out that Span-
ish sports newspapers remain highly popular
despite the press losing ground to new tech-
nologies (Faedo et al., 2022). To briey exem-
plify this situation, we can point out that Marca
and Mundo Deportivo were newspapers with a
large number of readers during the rst quar-
ter of 2023. While Marca was the most-read
newspaper in Spain in the rst quarter of 2023
(976,000 readers per day), Mundo Deportivo
ranked in the top 10 of those with the highest
readership in the whole country (232,000 read-
ers per day) (Asociación para la Investigación de
Medios de Comunicación, 2023).
After reviewing some of the most relevant stud-
ies on the employment situation of women in
both international and Spanish sports journal-
ism, this research takes a theoretical stance
based on three main ideas that complement
each other: the theory of the “pseudo-feminiza-
tion” (Soriano et al. 2005) of sports journalism,
the idea that women are outsiders (Hardin &
Shain, 2006; Ramon et al., 2020) due to their
gender, and the “symbolic annihilation” (Gerb-
ner & Gross, 1976; Tuchman, 2000) that they
suer in the media.
The research technique applied for this study is
quantitative content analysis, which describes,
in an objective, systematic, and quantitative
way, the manifest content of the communica-
tion (Berelson, 1952). We analyzed the journal-
istic pieces published (only where authorship
was identied) between 20 November and 18
December 2022 in the print versions of the
oldest sports newspapers published in Spain:
Mundo Deportivo and Marca (founded in 1906
and 1938, respectively). The period above was
studied because that is when the 2022 FIFA
World Cup Qatar 2022 occurred.
The journalistic pieces in which authorship
could be identied accounted for 67.4% of the
published (see Table 1). Those signed by wom-
en were studied, except on specic occasions
when the production of men was also analyzed,
to make some comparisons. The following vari-
ables were analyzed for each of the journalistic
pieces: a) Date, b) Author’s name, c) Author’s
sex, d) Journalistic genre (informative/interpre-
, e) Sports discipline, f) Sex of
the sports competition, and g) Cover page
. All
of them were coded and worked with Microsoft
Excel tables and lters.
In addition, it was identied that 1) the hierar-
chical positions and 2) the journalistic team in
charge of working with information on Qatar
2022 from each of the newspapers. These data
were obtained directly from the pages of the
1 Informative (news and briefs), interpretative (chronicles,
reports, interviews), opinion (analysis, columns, reviews,
editorials, and comic strips).
2 The variable “front page” refers to whether or not the
piece of journalism analyzed appears on the newspaper’s
front page.
The role of women in the production of journalistic pieces: analysis of Mundo
Deportivo and Marca during Qatar 2022
+ Marca
of articles
5.057 2.523 2.534
With an
of author-
No ele-
ment of
Table 1
Study sample
Table 2
Authorship of articles
Source: own elaboration.
Source: own elaboration.
+ Marca
Men 81,8%
Women 13%
Not de-
The rst results indicate a notable absence of
women in the authorship of articles. Whether
individually in each newspaper or in general,
men clearly dominate (see Table 2). While in
Mundo Deportivo, women participated in 23.6%
of the creation of articles, in Marca, they par-
ticipated in an even lower percentage, 6.4%.
Therefore, as Faedo et al. (2022) and Franks and
O’Neill (2016) explain, female journalists have
low participation in producing information. The
percentages obtained show that women con-
tinue to be the outsiders that Hardin and Shain
(2006) mentioned: their presence in news and
sports journalism is limited.
From another perspective, another critical ele-
ment to highlight is the roles played by female
journalists during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qa-
tar. During the competition, both newspapers
had a team in charge of reporting on the World
Cup on all the days studied. In both cases, the
situation is worrying. In the case of Mundo De-
portivo, the newspaper presented its team
under the title “El once del Mundial”, and out
of eleven people, only one woman appeared:
Cristina Cubero, deputy editor. The situation
of Marca is similar: they reported a team of ten
people under the name “Despliegue Marca Qa-
tar”, and Marta Pérez was the only woman.
On the other hand, when trying to identify the
journalistic genres in which women worked, the
research comes up against the ndings of Alon-
so-Allende et al. (2019) and Faedo et al. (2022):
women journalists have limited participation in
opinion articles (see Table 3). Their presence is
distributed between informative and interpre-
tative pieces, but their presence is not signi-
cant in producing opinion pieces. The case of
Marca is the most critical: the participation of
women in this type of article only represents
Nahuel Ivan Faedo
Table 3
Journalistic genres of the articles written by women.
Table 4
Sporting disciplines of articles written by women.
Source: own elaboration.
Source: own elaboration.
tic Genres
+ Marca
Informative 40,7%
Opinion 18%
Sport Mundo
tivo +
Sport Mundo
Sport Marca
On the other hand, when examining the sports
competitions in which the female journalists
mostly worked, it can be seen that football
dominated by far in both newspapers: 72.8%
(227) in Mundo Deportivo and 70.7% in Marca
(94) (see Table 4), which makes total sense;
during the period analyzed, a football event
took place. This dominance of football may also
be due to the “footballisation” (Rojas-Torrijos,
2012) that sports journalism suers from: foot-
ball reigns over all sports and leaves the rest in
the background. As football is the basis of the
journalistic business, sports journalism has al-
most become football journalism (Rojas-Torrji-
os, 2012).
Beyond the sporting disciplines, the sex of the
sporting competitions the women worked with
was identied. The majority did so with compe-
titions practiced by men. Therefore, in this case,
what is described by authors such as Boczek
et al. (2023) and Organista et al. (2019), who
explain that women tend to work with sports
played by women, is not fullled.
In addition, the data in Table 5 shows a large
majority of information about men, both in
Mundo Deportivo and Marca (see Table 5). Al-
though a men’s World Cup was indeed held
during the period analyzed, the supremacy
of information about men was overwhelming.
Therefore, as Ortega and San Miguel (2016)
explain, the media make women athletes invis-
ible, which contributes to a systematic absence
of women’s sports, in contrast to an over-sup-
ply of men’s sports.
The role of women in the production of journalistic pieces: analysis of Mundo
Deportivo and Marca during Qatar 2022
+ Marca
Table 5
Sex of sports competitions in articles written by women
Table 6
Authorship of all articles appearing on the covers
Source: own elaboration.
Source: own elaboration.
+ Marca
Total 309 127 182
Men 91,3%
Women 8,1%
No ele-
ment of
On the other hand, the positions within the hi-
erarchical structure of the newspapers were
identied according to what they reported dur-
ing the period studied. In the case of Mundo
Deportivo, out of fteen people mentioned as
responsible for dierent areas of the newspa-
per, only one is a woman, and it is precisely the
same one who is part of the team in charge of
covering Qatar 2022: Cristina Cubero (deputy
editor). The situation at Marca is just as serious:
out of 17 people identied as responsible for
dierent areas, only one was a woman: Yolan-
da Santander (editor-in-chief). Therefore, as
mentioned by Caro et al. (2004) and Román-
San-Miguel et al. (2021), women do not seem
to have presence within the hierarchical struc-
tures of the media.
Finally, all the information on the front pages
during the studied period was analyzed. The
front page is the place where the most impor-
tant articles of the newspaper are reected, as
it seeks to provoke the attention of the eventu-
al reader (Alonso-Allende et al., 2019). Conse-
quently, it is positioned as a central element for
newspapers. The study of this variable aimed
to identify how many front-page stories were
produced by women.
The results showed that the participation of
women is negligible and that men monopolize
most of them. In the case of Mundo Deportivo,
women only participate in 14.2%. In Marca, this
percentage is even lower; they only take part in
creating 3.9% of the information on the front
pages. If we look at the total of all the data
published on the front pages of the two news-
papers, we can see that women participate in
8.1%, while men participate in 91.3% of the cas-
es (see Table 5).
Nahuel Ivan Faedo
The analysis shows a poor presence of women
journalists in producing journalistic pieces in
the Spanish sports press. Although women in
both newspapers are relegated in all the vari-
ables analyzed, it should be noted that the sit-
uation is worse in Marca than in Mundo Depor-
tivo. In the Madrid newspaper, women are less
present in the authorship of the information,
producing opinion articles, and creating the ar-
ticles published on the front pages. Therefore,
this research corroborates what Soriano et al.
(2005) explained almost 20 years ago: there is
a “pseudo-feminization” in the Spanish sports
press that implies that women’s participation in
journalism is more an appearance than a real-
ity. As Hardin and Shain (2006) and Ramon et
al.) mentioned, women continue to be outsid-
With such a low level of representation and such
evident marginalization, it is necessary to think
that barriers may hinder their participation and
representation in Spanish sports newspapers.
This limited participation is directly linked to
the “symbolic annihilation” proposed by Gerb-
ner and Gross (1976) and Tuchman (2000). The
news agenda needs diverse voices to ensure
women’s and men’s equal representation in
On the other hand, beyond the number of
women involved in producing information, the
low number of women in the teams assigned
to cover the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar is also
worrying. This poor representation in such
a sporting event only demonstrates the lack
of condence in women’s journalistic work. It
helps to perpetuate a gap between men and
women that seems to have no end in sight.
Along the same lines, the fact that only one
woman is reected in each newspaper man-
agement team conrms what Román-San-
Miguel et al. (2021) explained: the positions of
responsibility and management in the media
are monopolized by men. A glass ceiling still
imposes diculties and obstacles that do not
allow women to progress regarding newsroom
leadership. Women journalists need more op-
portunities to climb the ladder in sports media.
Additionally, women have almost zero partici-
pation on the front pages, which is signicantly
alarming. As Alonso-Allende et al. (2019) explain,
the front page is the showcase that brings the
reader the most important articles of the news-
paper. Therefore, is the information produced
by women journalists not relevant enough
to be on the front page of newspapers? Both
men’s and women’s voices need to be equally
represented on such a central element of the
In short, it is essential that, from its place, the
sports press collaborates to combat inequal-
ities between men and women. As Salido
Fernández (2021) explains, “It is essential that
the sports media industries implement actions
aimed at eradicating this inequality because
only by encouraging greater participation of
women in all stages of the news production
chain” (p. 43). They must help to build a more
caring and egalitarian society, which they can
do by: a) promoting the participation of women
in this journalistic format to close the gender
gap; b) appointing them more equitably in the
production of information; c) giving them more
access to leadership positions.
Although the results do not allow to conrm
the absence of women in Spanish sports jour-
nalism in general, they do show some really
worrying data regarding the sports press in
particular. The situation of women in journal-
ism is a phenomenon worthy of study from dif-
ferent perspectives. This work can serve as a
The role of women in the production of journalistic pieces: analysis of Mundo
Deportivo and Marca during Qatar 2022
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starting point for future analyses. For example,
it would be interesting to transfer this study to
the digital eld and new technologies: will their
participation be just as scarce there? On the
other hand, the analysis could be extended to
other Spanish sports newspapers or even to
radio and television: Would Qatar 2022 have
had extensive participation of women journal-
ists, or would the situation have been as une-
qual as in the press?
Beyond quantitative studies, looking at the phe-
nomenon from a more qualitative perspective
would be interesting. For example, it would be
interesting to analyze, beyond the numbers,
how women experience these inequalities, if
they suer any discrimination, and if they be-
lieve that journalistic pieces are produced con-
sidering the gender perspective, among other
Nahuel Ivan Faedo
Blanco, E., Fernández-Torres, M. J., y Cano-Galindo, J. (2022). Disinformation
and hate speech toward female sports journalists.Profesional de la in-
formación,31(6). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2022.nov.13
Boczek, K., Dogruel, L., & Schallhorn, C. (2023). Gender byline bias in sports
reporting: Examining the visibility and audience perception of male
and female journalists in sports coverage. Journalism, 24(7), 1462-
1481. https://doi.org/10.1177/14648849211063312
Everbach, T. (2018). “I realized it was about them… not me”: Women sports
journalists and harassment.In J. R. Vickery (Eds.), Mediating misogyny:
Gender, technology, and harassment (pp. 131-149). Palgrave Macmillan.
Faedo, N.I., Ginesta, X., y Corrius, M. (2022). ¿Evolución o involución? Análisis
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