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Mary Yoke

Objective:

Physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity are endemic in the United States and in the developed world, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. More information is needed regarding the physical activity beliefs, attitudes, barriers, and perceived self-control among those who are sedentary and weight-challenged. The purpose of this study was to elicit physical activity beliefs about feasibility, pleasure, and movement descriptions from sedentary, middle-aged, overweight women.

Methods:

Open-ended questions were used throughout individual interviews with 23 participants (age: M = 52.0, SD = 7.3; BMI: M = 34.2, SD = 9.79); attitudes and beliefs regarding physical activity and movement descriptions were documented. Participants were divided into those who were completely sedentary (12 women) and those who regularly engaged in physical activity (11 women).

Results:

A content analysis revealed that sedentary women were less active and had more perceived barriers to physical activity than active women. The most frequently cited perceived barriers were injuries, caregiving responsibilities, time, age, dislike of sweating, and depression. Sedentary women were less likely to report physical activity as pleasurable; they were also more likely to cite having an exercise buddy as an optimal activity situation. The most frequently cited pleasurable activities in both groups were yoga, movement to music, stretching, and walking.

Conclusions:

This study provided evidence that perceived barriers to physical activity must be addressed, that low-intensity programs are needed and desired by overweight and sedentary women, and that movement activities must be found that are enjoyable for the target population.

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Marie Hardin, Stacie Shain and Kelly Shultz-Poniatowski

In the first part of a longitudinal study to explore the factors that impact career longevity of women in sports journalism, women who have worked in the field for less than two years were interviewed about barriers and opportunities in regard to their career success. Three general themes emerged during the interviews: (a) being a woman is not a barrier but is instead an (unfair) advantage; (b) the world of sports is a man’s world; and (c) family responsibilities will likely change, or perhaps end, their careers. The outlook of participants is grounded in the belief that gender roles, which will force these women from their careers, are natural. These interviews suggest that it no longer takes locker-room harassment to turn women away from practicing sports journalism; it simply takes the prospect of having a family.

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Aaron Clopton

The current study sought to trace the origin of gender disparity in the coaching landscape from student-athletes’ perceptions, framed through Social Cognitive Career Theory. To examine the cognitive-person variables in line with previous coaching and SCCT research, scales were derived for perceived social supports and barriers, perceptions of positive and negative outcome expectations, and perceived self-efficacy in coaching. Student-athletes were randomly selected online from 23 institutions across three Bowl Championship Series conferences, while data were coded into a MANCOVA. Results indicated male student-athletes reported greater levels for perceived barriers to enter the coaching profession, perceptions of positive outcome expectations, and for coaching self-efficacy than did their female counterparts. These findings suggest that gender differences within the college coaching profession may be, in part, due to perceptions formed before entry.

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Christopher F. Baldwin and Roger Vallance

Five women rugby union referees who officiated in the New South Wales (NSW) suburban rugby union premiership were interviewed about their experiences refereeing men. After a comprehensive analysis of the interview transcripts, four themes emerged around barriers and challenges to women’s participation in officiating, these themes are: 1) Barriers experienced by women rugby union referees; 2) Success in refereeing male rugby union players; 3) Challenges of women participating in refereeing rugby union; 4) Ways to bring about change. The findings imply that there is discrimination and marginalization present in women’s sports officiating at male games which is in line with the literature in women’s sports coaching. The findings also suggest that women have to be superior and elite athletes with a history of success to be appointed to the best male rugby union matches. Support both on and off the field is crucial to the development and success of female referees.

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Lynda B. Ransdell, Mary K. Dinger, Stacy Beske and Colleen Cooke

The purpose of this paper is to examine factors related to success in academic publishing for women in exercise science. Two trained investigators conducted hand searches of 7 prominent exercise science journals to ascertain the names of the most prolific women authors between 1991 and 1996. Seventeen (17) women, whose names will not be revealed (due to confidentiality), were identified. Following their identification, women were asked to submit a copy of their vita and complete a questionnaire related to scholarly productivity. Thirteen out of seventeen women agreed to participate in the study, yielding a response rate of 76%. Personal attributes that contributed most to their success in publishing were self-motivation, discipline, and perseverance. Situational or sociological factors mentioned were the availability of mentors, talented collaborators, and institutional or personal support. Some tips for maximizing productivity include having proper preparation and a narrow focus, and developing skills in writing, research design, and analysis. Women reported many gender-related barriers early in their careers, but these barriers faded with experience and reputation establishment. The two most frequent recommendations for ensuring successful collaborations with others were completing work in a timely fashion and being a team player. Sacrifices made for publishing included fewer social interactions and less time for leisure activities and vacations. With the exception of some barriers related to gender, our findings are in agreement with others who have examined correlates of productivity in mixed samples of men and women from a variety of fields.

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Sandra M. Bosteder and Karen M. Appleby

Researchers have noted several barriers that may exist in relation to women’s pursuit toward and participation in consistent physical activity. These barriers include, but are not limited to, unrealistic social expectations, body image, physique anxiety, evaluation concerns, and lack of a positive support network (Focht & Hausenblas, 2003; Lloyd & Little, 2005; Salvatore & Marecek, 2010; Vrazel, Saunders & Wilcox, 2008). Other researchers have indicated that physical activity pursued in outdoor environments may alleviate some of these barriers (McDermott, 2004). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to use a feminist framework to qualitatively describe the experiences of participants in an all-female outdoor recreation program in relation to confidence building, motivation to pursue physical activity, and social support. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 participants who had been active in the group for two or more years. The results of this study suggest that through participation in this women’s only group, they gained confidence in their physical and leadership abilities, were motivated through both environmental and social means, and experienced social bonding and networking among others. The authors provide applications and recommendations for future research.

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E. Missy Wright, Katie R. Griffes and Daniel R. Gould

Even though African American girls and/or girls in low-income, urban environments are specifically challenged with their sport involvement, little research has focused specifically on this population’s experience with sport. The purpose of this study was to examine various factors related to sport participation for adolescent girls (predominantly African American) living in a low-income urban environment. The study examined the barriers that might impede their sport involvement, the benefits they perceive, and the reasons why they do or do not participate. Four focus groups were conducted in Detroit, Michigan (a large urban Midwestern city). Participants were grouped by age, as well as sport participation status (current sort participants and girls who have not participated in organized sport for at least one year). Each group consisted of 4 girls. Results revealed various reasons why the participants engaged in sport, including that sport occupies their time and that it is fun, while reasons like lack of opportunities and the negative role of others were some of the reasons provided for not participating in sport. These girls face numerous barriers to sport participation, such as logistical, financial, and cosmetic. Positive psychosocial development and scholarships were noted as benefits to participation. Directions for future research and programmatic level applications are described in light of these findings.

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Ketra L. Armstrong

Sport is a social institution that is rife with raced and gendered discursive fields, creating structural and power relations that may influence the leadership experiences of Black women there-in. Tins study utilized the tenets of Black Feminist Thought as a foundation for examining the leadership experiences of a case selection of Black women (n=21) in community recreational sports. The results revealed that a personal interest in sport and an ethic of caring motivated the women’s involvement in the leadership of community recreation sports. Although the women reported barriers of gender inequity, racial discrimination, poor communication, lack of resources, and organizational constraints, they appeared to rely on their internal fortitude as a reservoir for resistance to combat the institutional challenges faced and have meaningful sport leadership experiences. The study illuminated the importance of individual consciousness to these women’s sense of self and their ability to resist the domination of the power and ideologies situated in their sport leadership settings.

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Claudine Sherrill

The underrepresentation of women in the Paralympics movement warrants attention as the world prepares for Atlanta 1996, when Paralympics (conducted after the Summer Olympics) will attract approximately 3,500 athletes with physical disability or visual impairment from 102 countries. Barriers that confront women with disability, the Paralympic movement, and adapted physical activity as a profession and scholarly discipline that stresses advocacy and attitude theories are presented. Two theories (reasoned action and contact) that have been tested in various contexts are woven together as an approach particularly applicable to women in sport and feminists who care about equal access to opportunity for all women. Women with disability are a social minority that is both ignored and oppressed. Sport and feminist theory and action should include disability along with gender, race/ethnicity, class, and age as concerns and issues.

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Emma Sherry, Nico Schulenkorf, Emma Seal, Matthew Nicholson and Russell Hoye

As the field of sport-for-development (SFD) has developed, there has been increasing debate over the ability of SFD programs to effect lasting structural change on target communities. Highlighting the barriers to SFD program delivery in five Pacific Island nations, in this paper we argue that numerous challenges emerging at macro-, meso-, and microlevels must be explored, understood, and accounted for to enact structural change. Building on thematic findings from our empirical cross-nation research project, we discuss the importance of addressing SFD challenges at all levels of society to ensure that interventions are appropriately tailored for the specific and often divergent sociocultural contexts in the Pacific Islands region. We argue for a more holistic approach to planning, management, and evaluation when attempting to deliver structural change through sport.