Gender differences in PE and school sport

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Issues and trends in P.E. in UK schools today –gender and physical activity.

Is sexism in sport still alive? Telegraph
Church of England statement on gender equality
Gender and History
Girls and Boys were kept separate in physical education up until the 1990s.
Does this equal equality?
BUT what issues may arise from these classes?
Gender Physical Education and Health
If we are to seriously address the rising concerns for the health of our young people then there must be open and equal opportunity for everyone to participate and progress, regardless of their gender, ability or cultural background.
(Uk Sport, 2003:2)
New research on girls
New study
More detail: Gender gap
Gender Physical Education and Health
Females < participate in sport and physical activity than males.
It is insufficient to focus on access and opportunity in isolation.
What else?
Social constructions of ideal femininity and masculinity* can influence young people’s self perception and self-esteem.
(*what are these social constructions?)
Femininity? Masculinity?
Which gender is encouraged to exercise, to be active, to engage in sports?
How does the media contribute
Gender inequality in sport
How have the media challenged it?
What will they say about you?
Equity in sports participation –sexual orientation
“Youth Chances” project (Sport England):
LGBT young people feel ‘substantially less accepted’ in sport
NUS ‘Out of Sport’ research:
59% of LGBT people take part in sport or PA at Uni
Barriers –not welcoming environment, sport reinforcing body images which are unobtainable, changing facilities, previous experiences, role models
Equity in sports participation –sexual orientation positive examples
Pride Youth Games
BUCS ‘Take a stand’ campaign
University of York boat club ‘ Rainbow Wellies’
Loughborough SU ‘Play with Pride’ campaign.

Gender Equity in P.E.
What do we mean by “gender equity”?
How would we recognise a school/college where gender equity was in place?
Whose responsibility is it for the creation of such a school/uni?
If “personal responsibility” is a key part then where do you fit in?
Why women don’t speak out about sexual harassment?
Come prepared to discuss in a respectful manner!

Seminar Task One
Consider the use of language embodied in the examples given to you and the newspaper article.
Can you think of other examples of the use of language that reinforces narrow notions of masculinity or femininity?
What are the consequences of such use of language?

Task Two
Consider the P.E. practices in the examples given to you
Can you think of other examples of practices which confirm stereotypical assumptions of masculinity or femininity?
What are the consequences of such practices?
Can we approach P.E. so that an environment is created where:
Different forms of femininity and masculinity are valued;
More equitable and respectful relationships between girls and boys are possible;
Those forms of masculinity and femininity which have negative consequences for girls and boys are challenged?
How can you take this forward?
In conclusion
Social practices that contribute to the construction of gender operate at all levels of a school
From individual practices
such as dress and the values about PA that teachers embody to.
Choices of activities, ways of presenting lessons, and the school organisation.

Reference List
Capel S (1997) Learning to Teach P.E. in the Secondary School. London: Routledge
Capel S & Piotrowski S (Ed) (2000) Issues in Physical Education.London : Routledge
Green K (2003) Physical Education Teachers on Physical Education.Chester : Chester Academic Press
Penney D (Ed) (2002) Gender and Physical Education. London: Routledge
Wright, J. (1999) Changing Gendered Practices in Physical Education: Working with Teachers. European Physical Education Review, Vol 5(3). Pp181-197.

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