Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Olympics Highlights Gender Disparity in Sports

In honor of the Olympics, Why We Love Watching Female Figure Skaters, but not Female Basketball Players.  The story picks up with the Russian men’s ski jump coach Alexander Arefyev comment that he doesn’t like seeing women compete in the sport because they “have another purpose—to have children, to do housework, to create hearth and home.” Researchers on gender disparity in sports found that:

found that these students code certain sports as masculine or feminine, and do so along the same lines that researchers did in 1965. They found that “sports that emphasized overt displays of aggression or strength were typed as masculine, and non-contact sports that are either traditionally dominated by women (volleyball) or emphasize aesthetics (gymnastics) were typed as feminine.” And as teenage girls develop differently from their male peers—and begin to confront gendered expectations for how they ought to use their bodies—“teenage girls drop out of sports at a rate that is six times higher than that of boys.”

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