This exploratory study examines the potential of intercollegiate sport participation to empower women at the group and societal levels. Telephone interviews were conducted with 24 women athletes from various sport teams at three Division I universities. Findings demonstrate that at the group level, sport facilitates female bonding and the development of a group identity and common goals. Empowerment at the societal level was noted when athletes indicated that their participation in sport challenged societal perceptions of women as well as making them more aware of gender inequalities in sport. However, the sport context did not appear to be an effective vehicle in enhancing athletes’ consciousness as women or encouraging their activism in support of women’s issues.
Elaine M. Blinde, Diane E. Taub and Lingling Han
Herbert W. Marsh, Clark Perry, Chris Horsely and Lawrence Roche
A broad cross-section of elite athletes (n = 83) was compared to a normative sample (n = 2,436) of nonathletes on the 13 self-concept scales for the Self-Description Questionnaire III (SDQIII). On these scales athletes had substantially higher Physical Ability self-concepts than nonathletes, but did not differ on Physical Appearance self-concepts. There were smaller differences favoring athletes on social scales (Same Sex, Opposite Sex, and Parent Relationships), Global Esteem, and the total self-concept. Group differences were not statistically significant for the academic scales (Math, Verbal, Academic, and Problem Solving) and Emotional self-concept, whereas nonathletes had marginally higher Spiritual and Honesty self-concepts. Athlete/nonathlete differences varied somewhat according to gender, generally favoring women athletes. Because the pattern of group differences (e.g., large differences in Physical Ability and minimal differences in Academic self-concept scales) is reasonably similar to a priori predictions, the results provide further support for the construct validity of SDQIII responses.
D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn
American colleges and universities use nicknames, colors, logos, and mascots as identifying and unifying symbols, especially concerning their athletic teams. This paper examines the dark side of these solidarity symbols by reporting the incidence and patterns found in the naming of collegiate men’s and women’s athletic teams. The data from 1,185 four-year schools reveal that more than half of American colleges and universities employ names, mascots, and/or logos that demean and derogate women’s teams. There are no significant differences in naming patterns by type of school (public, independent, or religious), but region is significant, with Southern schools more likely to use sexist names than schools elsewhere. The various sexist naming practices contribute to the maintenance of male dominance within college athletics by defining women athletes and women’s athletic programs as second class and trivial.
Ross Tucker and Malcolm Collins
The division of athletes into male and female categories for competition is a widely accepted practice and is ordinarily straightforward, requiring no intervention from authorities. However, for reasons ranging from deliberate cheating to complex medical conditions resulting in ambiguous development of sex organs, the controversy of sex verification in athletic events has existed for 70 years. Testing procedures, initially implemented to prevent cheating by men masquerading as women, have produced humiliating outcomes for women athletes who were often for the first time confronted with the possibility that they have one of the disorders of sex development. Sporting authorities have and continue to formulate position stands for the management of such cases. An important missing component in this debate is the sound scientific evidence to determine (a) whether a performance advantage actually exists and (b) how large it might be. The division of competition into separate categories and the large difference in sporting performance between male and female necessitate that sport-governing bodies define the boundaries between the sexes in a just and fair manner for all participating athletes. This review will therefore provide the historical context of the debate and aim to discuss relevant physiological and performance aspects of the sex verification process.
Ellen J. Staurowsky, Heather Lawrence, Amanda Paule, James Reese, Kristy Falcon, Dawn Marshall and Ginny Wenclawiak
As a measure of progress, the experiences today of women athletes in the state of Ohio are far different from those attending institutions of higher learning just after the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. But how different, and how much progress has been made? The purpose of this study was to assess the level of progress made by compiling and analyzing data available through the Equity in Athletics Disclosure reports filed by 61 junior colleges, four year colleges, and universities in the State of Ohio over a four year span of time for the academic years 2002-2006.2 The template for this study was the report completed by the Women’s Law Project examining gender equity in intercollegiate athletics in colleges and universities in Pennsylvania (Cohen, 2005), the first study of its kind. Similar to that effort, this study assesses the success with which intercollegiate athletic programs in Ohio have collectively responded to the mandates of Title IX in areas of participation opportunities and financial allocations in the form of operating budgets, scholarship assistance, recruiting and coaching.3
Lynda B. Ransdell and Christine L. Wells
Women’s running has made significant gains during the past century. The Feminine Sportive Federation International, an international organization for women in sport, was an early advocate for women’s running. They lobbied for the inclusion of 5 new women’s events in the 1928 Olympics, the longest of which was 800 meters. Unfortunately, some competitors in the 800 m event collapsed, providing “rationale” for excluding women from distance racing (Noakes, 1991). Later, the 800 meter event was re-introduced in the 1960 Olympics, and so the interest in “women’s distance running” was re-kindled. Women continued to call for greater challenges, and eventually in 1972, they were officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon (Noakes, 1991). Today, distances of 5,10, and 42 kilometers make up the majority of road races throughout the country. These events are not limited to top-flight women athletes racing for fame and fortune or a chance to represent America in the Olympic Games. Rather, thousands of women—of all shapes, running styles and fitness levels—enter these weekend races, most with little hope of winning a prize.
Currently, women runners are recognized at the national level as “open” (any age) or “masters” (40 years of age and older) competitors. This separation is important because performance varies with age. How age affects performance depends upon a number of factors including overall health, injury status, training, and genetic endowment. Considerable individual variability exists, but at some point in middle-age, performance declines. Although equal performance is not likely from outstanding 45 year old and 25 year old competitors, each may be considered an “elite” performer when competition is separated into age groups. The separation of athletes into masters and open categories and further into age groups results in opportunities for many to receive recognition, and for competitors to set and achieve goals relative to their age. Age-group competition has attracted thousands and thousands of “new” runners and encouraged former competitors to “stay with it for a few more years.”
Very little is known about women who run at the “masters” level. There is general information about how aging affects the male athlete’s performance, but little information about how aging affects women’s performances. This paper is a review of the literature on masters women runners and a description of 1) their physical and physiological characteristics, 2) their performance, 3) their performance decline with advancing age, and 4) the health related benefits of physical activity.
Matthew R. Hodler
around the experiences of athletes who are men, with some passing examples of women athletes. Leonard does have an entire chapter devoted to women athletes, but he misses an opportunity to explore relationships between Whiteness and Masculinity. Such as: how is the centering of Whiteness related to the
). Accordingly, they may not perceive either college attendance or their sports participation to be equally beneficial to life skill development compared to white women. However, most research on race among college women athletes has comprised small-scale, qualitative studies at single campuses, and no study to
Iñigo Mujika and Ritva S. Taipale
, 22 women. As I look back on my career in sport physiology, I realize that I have often had the opportunity to work with elite women athletes. Indeed, my very first scientific article as a PhD student reported, “The subjects of this study were 18 national and international level swimmers, 10 males and
Brittany N. Semenchuk, Shaelyn M. Strachan and Michelle Fortier
, 2000 ), and, in some cases, goal achievement ( Teixeira, Carroca, Markland, Silva, & Ryan, 2012 ). Indeed, among women exercisers ( Berry, Kowalski, Ferguson, & McHugh, 2010 ; Magnus, Kowalski, & McHugh, 2010 ) and women athletes ( Mosewich, Kowalski, Sabiston, Sedgwick, & Tracy, 2011 ), self