Excluding its annual swimsuit edition, Sports Illustrated published 716 issues from January 2000 to June 2011. Of all those magazines, women appeared on 35 covers (4.9 percent) — and only 18 times (2.5 percent) was a woman “the primary or sole image” on the cover of a given issue.
The data comes from research University of Louisville professors Jonetta Weber and Robert Carini recently published in the journal International Review for the Sociology of Sport.
“Beyond the limited number of covers,” Weber and Carini wrote, “women’s participation in sport was often minimized by sharing covers with male counterparts, featuring anonymous women not related directly to sports participation, sexually objectifying female athletes, and promoting women in more socially acceptable gender-neutral or feminine sports.”
“The contrast with the magazine’s first decade of existence is stark,” Jacobs wrote. “Between 1954 and 1965, women were featured on 74 SI covers, or 12.6 percent of the total.”
Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-236-6051.