Gender Roles and Barriers to Participation in Sports

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Norwegian College of Physical Education and Sport, Oslo
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This study attempts to measure quantitative and qualitative dimensions of leisure time in an effort to see how they are related to the sport participation rates of women and men. Using data collected from a sample of 83 women and 128 men—all of whom were employed, married parents—it was found that women did more housework than men did but the time spent on housework did not account for differences in participation rates for either women or men. Most important in explaining participation in sports among women was the average number of hours per week their spouses were away from home in the evenings. On the basis of these findings it was concluded that the quantitative dimensions of leisure were not associated with sport participation rates; however, the qualitative dimensions of leisure were associated with barriers to participation for women but not for men. The data suggested that compared to men, women were less likely to feel they had the freedom to participate in sport. This difference was explained in terms of a combination of factors including differential socialization and different patterns of motivation related to sport participation among women and men.

Direct all correspondence to Kari Fasting, Norges Idrettshögskole, Postboks 40, Kringsja 0807, Olso 8, Norway.
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