How Can a Sociological Approach to Examining Sport and Leisure Help Us to Understand Differences, Patterns and Trends in Gendered Sport Participation?

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In order to answer the question above I will use a number of references and through my own finding by reading around the subject area I will critically evaluate the theories that inform the understanding of sport and leisure in this current day society. Anthony Giddens provides a general definition of Sociology. “The study of human groups and societies, giving particular emphasis to the analysis of the industrialized world. Sociology is one of a group of social sciences, which also includes anthropology, economics, political science and human geography. The divisions between the various social sciences are not clear-cut, and all share a certain range of common interests, concepts and methods. ”. (A.Giddens 1989) But many can argue that you cannot define sociology, as there are no barriers that it cannot cover under the Term Sociology. Participation rate of sporting activities can be compared to show the differences, patterns and trends of the participation according to gender. A survey By the General Household survey (GHS, 1996) showed that “77% of adult women (aged 16+) take part in sport at least once a year and 56% take part at least once a month.” In Comparison to men “87% of men take part on an infrequent basis at least once a year and 71% take part on a more frequent basis”. This shows that one of the key findings is that men play more sport than women on average. And this is a historical trend that shows that femininity has limited the number of opportunities that are available for women to play sport, in comparison of the number of opportunities that are available to male sporting players, due to the smaller demand for gender specific sports for example, A women’s Football league is not as developed as the male equivalent in the same geographical location weather that’s at a local level or national. Another Key finding was that institutional barriers may also limit the number of opportunities for women to take up roles in a sporting organisation or allowing the development of women’s sport. This can be due to a feministic view that don’t allow equal opportunities and show a divide between male and female sports. According to Sue Tibballs (“Women in Sport Audit”, 2007-2008 P1) “As 51% of the population, women offer a huge space for sport to grow. Yet, the low representation of women at a senior level, and the low share of investment and media profile that women’s sport enjoys ,puts that possible future growth at risk. This is not just an opportunity cost in terms of new participants, consumers and sporting success stories” In terms of sports teams again there can be an underrepresentation of women in coaching roles and administrative roles. According to NCAA women’s team sports in 2006, 33% of women’s soccer coaches were female,” (Sagas et al., 2006) In terms of interactionist theory the effect of being coached by male coaches may significantly impact the progression of the own development thinking that they may not be able to take up roles that their coaches currently have. In terms of Administrative roles, “Just four of the 35 English and British NGB’s Surveyed have a female Chief executive.” Sue Tibballs (“Women in Sport Audit”, 2007-2008 P1) The Trivialising of Women’s sport has affected the multiplier effect through to the amateur level, for example the difference between the achievements of a Professional male sports team in comparison to a Professional female sports team. They are not perceived as equal achievements. E.g. Male Football Premier league Title winners / Female Football Premier League title. Other barriers faced by female athletes, Is the Perception that women cannot be involved in a traditionally male dominated sport. For example Women’s boxing is a sport that has seen feministic views stopped the participation of females in this sport, Until the 20th Century where it was recognised as a sport that females could professionally compete in. E.g. Barbara, Buttrick who was the first Official Female...
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