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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.

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Canan Koca and F. Hulya Asci

The purpose of this study was to compare gender role orientation and classification of elite female athletes aged between 18 to 30 years with age-matched female non-athletes in Turkey. Additionally, gender role differences with regard to types of sport in elite female athletes were examined. In this study 306 elite female athletes (Mage = 22.17 ± 2.51) and 264 female non-athletes (Mage = 21.34 ± 3.14) were participants of this study. Female athletes were selected from feminine sports; ballet dancing, aerobic dance, swimming, ice skating, tennis, volleyball (n = 70), from masculine sports; basketball, handball, soccer, wrestling, weight lifting, taekwando, karate, judo (n = 127), and from gender-neutral sports; track and field, shot putting and javelin throwing (n = 109). The Bern Sex Role Inventory was administered to assess the gender role orientations of participants. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed that there were significant differences in gender role orientation between elite female athletes from different types of sport and female non-athletes (Hotelling’s T2 = 0.145; F(6,112) = 13.63; p<.01). In a follow-up univariate analysis, a significant difference in masculinity (F(3,569) = 26.07; p<.01) scores between female athletes from different types of sport and female non-athletes were observed. In addition, a chi square analysis showed a significant difference in gender role classifications between elite female athletes from different types of sport and female non-athletes (X2 = 68.22; p<. 01). Based on these findings it was concluded that there were significant differences in gender role orientations between Turkish elite female athletes and nonathletes.