The Complexity of Sport: Universal Challenges and Their Impact on Women in Sport

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD $41.00

1 year subscription

USD $54.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD $77.00

2 year subscription

USD $101.00

The experiences of women in sport continue to necessitate deliberation, reflection, new ways of thinking, and further discourse in the continued pursuit of opportunity and equality. The subsequent and parallel impact on the roles that women play in sport as athletes and leaders are revealed by identifying the complexities and social realities that are vying and contending for relevance. The notion of complexity offers a novel conceptualization revealing contexts and competing points of view that challenge progress and equality for women in sport. Complexity refers to the state of the world assailed by increased amounts of data, facts, tasks, evidence, and arguments that yield uncertainty in the current age and unpredictability for the future. Universal challenges characteristic of complexity include globalization; digital technology; interpenetration of the wider society; participation, access, and equal opportunity; marketization; competition; and quality assurance and assessment. As a result, these old and new realities raise questions related to what we know about the current state of sport, sport experiences of women, and the properties of sport that seem difficult to manage. The purpose of this paper is to offer complexity as a theoretical lens by which to examine sport, discuss the universal and formidable challenges that face sport, and, more specifically, discuss the impact they have on women in sport.

Weatherford and Wagner are with Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX. Block is with Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, TX.

Address author correspondence to Gwendolyn M. Weatherford at gweatherford@twu.edu.
Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
Article Sections
References
  • AcostaR.V. & CarpenterL.J. (2014). Women in intercollegiate sport: A longitudinal, national study thirty-seven year update. Retrieved from http://www.acostacarpenter.org/2014%20Status%20of%20Women%20in%20Intercollegiate%20Sport%20-37%20Year%20Update%20-%201977-2014%20.pdf

    • Export Citation
  • AlvarezE. (2017). Behind EA’s push to put more women in sports games. Retrieved from https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/11/ea-sports-women-in-games/

    • Export Citation
  • BandyS. (2005). From women in sport to cultural critique: A review of books about women in sport and physical culture. Women’s Studies Quarterly 33(1 & 2) 246261.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BarnettR. (2000). Realizing the University in an age of supercomplexity. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.

  • BarnettR. (2004). The purposes of higher education and the changing face of academia. London Review of Education 2(1) 6173. doi:10.1080/1474846042000177483

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BarnettR. (2005). Recapturing the universal in the university. Educational Philosophy and Theory 37785797. doi:10.1111/j.1469-5812.2005.00158.x

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BarneyJ. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management 17(1) 99120. doi:10.1177/014920639101700108

  • BergvallV.L. (1999). Toward a comprehensive theory of language and gender. Language in Society 28(2) 273293. doi:10.1017/S0047404599002080.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BichiA. (2017). Opportunities brought by innovation and digital technologies in sport. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/sport/sites/sport/files/docs/docs/eusf-data-1_en.pdf

    • Export Citation
  • BlockB.A. & EstesS. (2011). Supercomplexity in higher education kinesiology. Quest 63179196. doi:10.1080/00336297.2011.10483675

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BogageJ. (2017). Youth sports study: Declining participation, rising costs and unqualified coaches. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/recruiting-insider/wp/2017/09/06/youth-sports-study-declining-participation-rising-costs-and-unqualified-coaches/?utm_term=.ff606421575f

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BoydT.C. & ShankM.D. (2004). Athletes as product endorsers: The effect of gender and product relatedness. Sport Marketing Quarterly 13(2) 8293.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BradfordR. (2016). 8 digital trends driving the transformation of sports. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2016/03/22/8-digital-trends-driving-the-transformation-of-sports/#494ef69d7146

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BrooksC.M. (2001 Spring). Using sex appeal as a sport promotion strategy. Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal 10(1) 116. doi:10.1123/wspaj.10.1.1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ClavioG. & EaglemanA.N. (2011). Gender and sexually suggestive images in sports blogs. Journal of Sport Management 25295304. doi:10.1123/jsm.25.4.295

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CookyC. (2009). “Girls just aren’t interested”: The social construction of interest in girls’ sport. Sociological Perspectives 52(2) 259283. doi:10.1525/sop.2009.52.2.259

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CookyC.MessnerM.A. & HextrumR.H. (2013). Women play sport, but not on tv. A longitudinal study of televised news media. Communication & Sport 1(3) 203230. doi:10.1177/2167479513476947

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DocktermanE. (2014). Medals aren’t enough: Female Olympians still have to sell sexiness. TIME Sports. Retrieved from http://keepingscore.blogs.time.com/2014/02/10/medals-arent-enough-female-olympians-still-have-to-sell-sexiness/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • EimeR.M.HarveyJ.T.CharityM.J. & PayneW.R. (2016). Population levels of sport participation: Implications for sport policy. BMC Public Health 16752. doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3463-5

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FinkJ.S. (2015). Sponsorship for women’s sports presents untapped opportunity. Street & Smith’s Sport Business Journal. Retrieved from http://time.com/4913687/how-kids-sports-became-15-billion-industry/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FoerF. (2006). The goals of globalization. Foreign Policy 1538687.

  • Global Fund for Women. (n.d.). Technology initative: Closing the global gender gap in technology. Retrieved from https://www.globalfundforwomen.org/our-approach/initiatives/technologyinitiative/#.WdaUOWiPKHs

    • Export Citation
  • GraingerA.D.NewmanJ.I. & AndrewsD. (2005). Global Adidas.Sport, celebrity, and the marketing difference. In J. Amis & B.T.B. Cornwell Eds. Global sport sponsorship (pp. 89105). Oxford, UK: Berg.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GrappendorfH. & LoughN. (2006). An endangered species: Characteristics and perspectives from female NCAA Division I athletic directors of both separate and merged athletic departments. The Smart Journal. Retrieved from http://www.thesmartjournal.com/endangered%20species.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GregoryS. (2017). How kids’ sports became a $15 billion industry. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/4913687/how-kids-sports-became-15-billion-industry/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HardinM.LynnS.WalsdorfK. & HardinB. (2002). The framing of sexual difference in Sports Illustrated for Kids editorial photos. Mass Communication & Society 5341360.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HarveyJ.HorneJ. & SafaiP. (2009). Alterglobalization, global social movements, and the possibility of political transformation through sport. Sociology of Sport Journal 26383403. doi:10.1123/ssj.26.3.383

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hogshead-MakerN. (2010). Attitudes, platitudes and the collegiate sports arms race: Unsustainable spending and its consequences for Olympic and women’s sports. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport 36980. doi:10.1123/jis.3.1.69

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HollandJ.L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd ed.). Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HollandJ.R. & OglesbyC. (1979). Women in sport: The synthesis begins. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 445(1) 8090. doi:10.1177/000271627944500110.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HoneybourneJ.HillM. & MoorsH. (2000). Advanced physical education and sport. For AS level. Cheltenham, UK: Nelson Thornes.

  • JayK. (2004). More than just a game: Sports in American life since 1945. (pg. 48 pg. 53) Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JevticB. & JuhasI. (2011). Women in sports– Truth or contradiction symptoma. Physical Culture 65(1) 717.

  • KaneM.J.LaVoiN.M. & FinkJ.S. (2013). Exploring elite female athletes’ interpretations of sport media images: A window into the construction of social identity and “selling sex” in women’s sports. Communication & Sport 1(3) 269298. doi:10.1177/2167479512473585

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KarademirT. (2013). The effects of globalization on sports education institutions. International Journal of Academic Research 5(2) 116121. doi:10.7813/2075-4124.2013/5-2/B.17.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KobaM. (2014). Spending big on kids’ sports? You’re not alone. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2014/01/13/youth-sports-is-a-7-billion-industryand-growing.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LopianoD.A. (1984). A political analysis of the possibility of impact alternatives for the accomplishment of feminist objectives within American collegiate sport. The Arena Review 8(2) 4961.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LopianoD.A. (2014). It’s time for the NCAA and other educational sport governance organizations to get serious about gender equity. JOPERD 85(2) 67. doi:10.1080/07303084.2014.866784

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MacijauskieneZ. (2017). Gender Equality Index 2017: Progress at a snail’s pace. European Institute for Gender Equality. Retrieved from http://eige.europa.eu/news-and-events/news/gender-equality-index-2017-progress-snails-pace

    • Export Citation
  • ManganJ.A. (2010). Epilogue: Aggression and androgyny: Gender fusion in and beyond sport in the post-millennium. The International Journal of the History of Sport 33(1-2) 470478. doi:10.1080/09523360903339791

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McChesneyR.W. (1989). Media made sport: A history of sports coverage in the United States. In L.A. Wenner Ed. Media Sports & Society. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McLachlanF. (2016). Gender politics, the Olympic Games, and road cycling: A case for critical history. The International Journal of the History of Sport 33(4) 469483. doi:10.1080/09523367.2015.1134500

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MessnerM.A. (2002). Taking the field. Women men and sports. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

  • MillerT.LawrenceG.McKayJ. & RoweD. (2001). Globalization and sport. Playing the world. London, UK: Sage.

  • MottS. (2015). Women’s sport proves the best buy for business. The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/womens-sport-proves-the-best-buy-for-business-10318471.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Collegiate Athletics Association. (2014). Sports sponsorship and participation rates report. Retrieved from http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/PR1314.pdf

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • National Federation of State High School Associations. (n.d.). 1969–2014 high school athletics participation survey results. Retrieved from http://www.nfhs.org/ParticipationStatics/PDF/Participation%20Survey%20Iiistory%20Boolc.pdf

    • Export Citation
  • NicholsonM. (2007). Sport and the media. Managing the nexus. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

  • Play Fair at the Olympics. (2004). Play fair at the Olympics. Respect workers’ rights in the sportswear industry. Oxford, UK: Oxfam GB. Retrieved from http://www.fairolympics.org/background/olympicreporteng.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RaftreeL. (2013). Empower girls through technology: What’s the role for business? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/empowering-girls-technology-role-for-business

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RaoA.StuartR. & KelleherD. (1999). Gender at work: Organizational change for equality. Retrieved from http://genderatwork.org/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Resources/GAW-REDUCE-2-3-0.pdf

    • Export Citation
  • RoweD. (1996). The global love-match: Sport and television. Media Culture and Society 18565582. doi:10.1177/016344396018004004

  • SageG.H. (2005). Corporate globalization and sporting goods manufacturing.The case of Nike. In D.S. Eitzen (Ed.) Sport in contemporary society. An anthology (pp. 362382). Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ScottJ.W. (1987). History and difference. Daedalus 116(4) 93118.

  • TamirI.YarchiM. & GalilyY. (2017). Women, sport and the media: Key elements at play in the shaping of the practice of women in sports journalism in Israel. Communications 42 (4) 441464. doi:10.1515/commun-2017-0039

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TavakolliM.NajafiA. & RamezaniZ.N. (2013). Studying role of mass media in sport development. Advances in Applied Science Research 4(4) 4954.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ThelinJ. (1994). Games colleges play: Scandal and reform in intercollegiate athletics. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

  • ThibaultL. (2009). Globalization in sport: An inconvenient truth. Journal of Sport Management 23120. doi:10.1123/jsm.23.1.1

  • WalshA. & GiulianottiR. (2007). Ethics money and sport. This Sporting Mammon. London, UK: Routledge.

  • WashingtonR.E. & KarenD. (2001). Sport and society. Annual Review of Sociology 27187212.

  • WeissA.E. (1993). Money games: The business of sports. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

  • WertheimL.J. (2004). The whole world is watching. Sports Illustrated 100(24) 7286.

  • Women’s Sports Foundation. (2016). Benefits– why sports participation for girls and women. Retrieved from https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/advocate/foundation-positions/mental-physical-health/benefits-sports-participation-girls-women/

    • Export Citation
  • Women’s Sports Foundation. (2017). Title IX and the rise of female athletes. Retrieved from https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/education/title-ix-and-the-rise-of-female-athletes-in-america/

    • Export Citation
  • WonD. & ChelladuraiP. (2016). Competitive advantage in intercollegiate athletics: Role of intangible resources. PLos One 11(1) 0145782. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145782

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WoodsR.B. (2007). Social issues in sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

  • WrightG. (1999). The impact of globalization. New Political Economy 4268273.

  • YunH.J.PostelnicuM.RamoutarN. & KaidL.L. (2007). Where is she? Coverage of women in online news magazines. Journalism Studies 8(6) 930947. doi:10.1080/14616700701556823

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Article Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 85 85 20
Full Text Views 12 12 2
PDF Downloads 1 1 0
Altmetric Badge
PubMed
Google Scholar
Cited By