Yesterday’s Thoughts

May 21, 2005

New Gender Discovered – Film at 11

What were Matt Bauer and Kelley Koehler thinking? Here are the first three sentences in an article titled “Acknowledging Gender in Triathlon.”

Triathlon is a rapidly growing sport with the United States of America Triathlon (USAT) association growing by 37% and a majority of that growth are women. In 2003 women comprised 35% of new memberships while in 2004 they comprised 42% of new memberships. What does this mean for triathlon? [Emphasis in the original.]

Matt and Kelley, if you are going to go to the trouble of putting some text in bold face, you had better make sure it is true. What you wrote is false, as you demonstrate in the second sentence.

A majority of growth would mean that more than 50% of the growth was women. Since 35% of new members were women in 2003 and 42% of the new members were women in 2004, clearly a majority of the growth (new members) weren’t women.

I guess that as a sentence, “Triathlon is a rapidly growing sport with the United States of America Triathlon (USAT) association growing by 37% and a significant minority of that growth are women,” isn’t as compelling. It is however true.

A better lede:

Women are doing triathalon in unprecedented numbers. United States of America Triathlon (USAT) association reports that in 2003 women comprised 35% of new memberships while in 2004 they comprised 42% of new memberships. What does this mean for triathlon?

I don’t know what the rest of the article is about. I stopped reading after these three sentences. I don’t care about what something that isn’t happening means.

Footnote:

From the USAT statistics, I calculate that women are currently 32% of the total membership of USAT. In that sense, there are more women in 2003 and 2004 than there were in the previous year. The percentage is growing, but as long as there are fewer new women members than men, there will be fewer women members. If the percentage of new members who are women became greater than 50% it would take a while for women to be a majority.

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