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“The Club Management Ignores Us”: Gender-Power Relations in Women’s Football in Turkey

Pınar Öztürk and Canan Koca

This research aims to explore the gender–power relations and gendered experiences of the players in a women’s football team in Turkey. An ethnographic method and a feminist perspective were used to allow a deeper understanding of their experiences. Based on participant observation and interviews conducted with 14 players, three coaches, and one staff member, the data were analyzed via thematic analysis. The identified themes are (a) institutionalized gender discrimination and (b) compulsory femininity: being ladylike. The findings indicate that unequal gender relations in the club, influenced by institutionalized gender discrimination, determine the position of the women’s team within the club. Accordingly, compulsory femininity is continuously generated in the field. Consequently, the women’s football team remained at the periphery (and finally outside) of the men’s club.

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Women’s Exercise Experiences in Women-Only Gyms in Turkey: An Examination Within the Framework of Self-Determination Theory

Pinar Öztürk and Canan Koca

Although a growing body of evidence emphasizes the benefits of physical activity and exercise participation, diverse cultural, social and religious factors prevent girls and women from participating in physical activity and exercise. Recently, women-only gyms have become an important factor in promoting women’s participation in exercise in nonwestern countries, such as Turkey. This study examines the factors that affect the experiences of women who participate in exercise in a women-only gym, in Turkey, by applying self-determination theory (SDT) with a gender perspective. Data were collected through in-depth semistructured interviews with seventeen women and three women instructors and analyzed with thematic analysis. Identified themes are a) regulation of daily life: time of one’s own, b) structured exercise, and c) comfort of being in women-only environments. Findings show that women-only gym satisfies the three basic needs identified by SDT, and reproduce the relationship between exercise and femininity for women. This means that satisfaction of three needs, autonomy, competence, and relatedness, involves gendered meanings for women who exercise in women-only gyms.