This Wiki is currently "locked". At this time no edits or non-Brock accounts can be created.

Main Page

From PEKN 1P93 Winter 2014: Group 15: Social Development, Gender Equality

Jump to: navigation, search


[edit] PEKN 1P93 - Social Development in Sport - Gender Equality

[edit] Background

Gender equality refers to being treated fairly despite of an individual's male or female orientation. The importance of gender equality is significant to the social development of every individual. Variables in politics, demographics and the governing bodies have significant impacts on the implementation of programs that shape gender equality.

Gender equality is a human right and achieving gender equality is critical for sustainable growth and development. Women have equal value and should receive the same treatment as men, therefore it is important to fight discrimination and grant women equal access to health, education and economic rights.

In sport, gender equality is very important to consider because sport can be used to empower a person in a positive way. However, in order to empower an individual you must not set them to a standard they were not meant to achieve (whether that standard is lower than what they can achieve or higher). An age old issue in regards to gender equality is the issue behind women seen as "frail", many programs and organizations are working to improve this issue.

It is important to evaluate gender equality in physical activity in the sense of why female students may be less likely to participate during physical activity in high school and after it is no longer a mandatory course to take. We must try to understand the underlying causes behind why these female students are left with a negative outlook on physical activity after they leave high school, which in turn deters them from participating in physical activity as adults.




[edit] History

Gender equality throughout history has been centered on the promotion of women, therefore the major milestones involve achievements of women. The history of women in sport takes on a sort of exponential pattern. In very early times women were valued and protected for the purpose of producing strong children. However this left women out of sport, leaving them to feel at a disadvantage for many years. Starting in the 20th century there began a sort of upwards slope towards the strength of women in sport as depicted in the Timeline of women in sport below

[edit] Timeline of Women in Sport


766 CE: The first Olympic Games excluded women so they created their own games, called the Heraean Games where they participated in foot races, wrestling and chariot races. [4]

396 CE: Kyniska was the first and only woman to compete in the original Olympics, in the sport of Chariot Racing

1567: Mary Queen of Scots first woman to play golf

1856: Catherine Beecher Publishes the first exercise manual for women

1875: Wellesley College, a private womens college opens and requires physical education as part of the curriculum

1900: Women were allowed to compete in the Olympics at the Paris Olympics in 1900. There was only 5 events that the women athletes could compete in: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism and golf. At these Olympics, only 22 women competed out of the 997 athletes.

1907: Margaret Eaton School established in Canada - among the schools that valued physical fitness as equally as other subjects to promote the more well rounded individual

1972: In the higher education amendments of 1972 and the regulations that followed in 1975, regulations that protect against sex discrimination in athletics along with many other aspects of education were put into play.

1984: Los Angeles Olympics had only 23% of the athletes competing being women

2012: At the London 2012 Olympics, a remarkable 44% of all the athletes competing were women.</ref>

[edit] Target Audience

Individuals ranging from children to adolescence will benefit from an environment that promotes gender equality in sport. They will benefit from physical activity because when a child is taught to foster their own ability and be the best they can be, they gain confidence, and trust within themselves and the world around them. Specifically females as they are receiving less physical activity than males and not getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. It is important to teach children about gender equality and their rights early on in life as gender equality promotes equal treatment rather than signalling people out based on gender, which could result in labelling and bullying.

When the issue of gender equality is concerned, female students at the high school level are also a target audience as after grade 9 physical education courses are no longer mandatory credits. This means that the students have the option as to whether or not they would like to pursue those physical education courses, and for the large majority most young women do not choose to continue to take those courses. This makes them a target audience for issues surrounding gender equality in physical education as it would like to be understood why these students not continue to pursue those courses and what exactly the underlying causes for their choices are. Barriers that may prevent females from participating include a lack of enjoyment, intimidation, social anxiety, self-consciousness and societal barriers that state what females can and cannot do.

[edit] Research

(Eldar & Ayvazo, 2009) [5]

Vertinsky (1984) conducted a case in England on the implementation of gender equality in physical education. At the time, it was confirmed that 98% of secondary schools in England divided males and females in physical education classes due to the belief that there are substantial physical differences between males and females, requiring different education treatments (Vertinsky, 1983).The policy of equal circular opportunity is evolving in England to ensure equal access to facilities and equipment, equal program budgets and benefits, and less emphasis upon strength and size in their curriculum (Vertinsky, 1983). They also aim to provide a varied selection of activities requiring different talents and responding to different motivations (Vertinsky, 1983). Although this study was conducted 30 years ago, statistics from today are relatively similar. [6]

Hardin and Whiteside (2009), describes gender equality not only as a political notion but as a social issue. The article concludes that in order to overcome the inequalities we must infiltrate each level of a population for the change to really occur. They use the example of the country of the United States which has laws that give women equal freedom. However, when it is tested in the field of sport, many women feel they are still not at the same level as men because of the current metanarratives characterized with sport. To foster this equality we need to create an atmosphere in sport that encourages the young and the old regardless of gender to remain active in sport or game activities. Public access to sport is a big notion towards gender equality in sport. Recreational centers such as the YMCA and the Talisman center seek to promote physical literacy through many programs that are not limited to specific genders. [7]

In Petracovschi, Voicu, Faur, and Sinitean-Singer’s article, “Promote the equality and fairness for everyone in physical education activity,” the authors look to tackle the use of separating males and females in physical education classes. They intended to combat this by using games that are meant for mixed male and female groups. The article also ties into the overall themes of social development because the authors planned to keep these mixed groups together outside of physical activities to encourage socialization between boys and girls.

In the article “Gender identity and sport: is the playing field level?” the various different aspects of gender in sport are highlighted. It is discussed how there has always been a bias towards gender in physical activity, highlighting immediately how women were not allowed to compete in the ancient Olympic games and even when the more modern version of the Olympic games arose women were not included in the games until 1900. It is then brought to our attention that though women were then allowed to compete that the sports or activities were separated into gender specific events, where the competition is only between those of the same sex as to create an equal playing field. – (Reeser, J. (2005, May 03). Gender identity and sport: is the playing field level?.[8]

In an article by Alexis Lyras, she explained that sport can serve as a place to learn life lessons while also acting as a a place for social change. The United Nations have put the "global influence of sport as an important element in the pursuit of its Millennium Development Goals (MGD)" (Lyras, 2013). The United Nations understands that sport can be used to promote social change among males and females. In conclusion, they said that there are changes that can be made to promote gender equity. When Dove put out its campaign regarding gender and cross-group contact, they put out tips on how males and females working together to improve gender equity. Firstly, girls can be starters, so the females feel more important. Secondly, having females and males have equal say in the team will show cooperation in the team. Lastly, having females in any sport organization as coaches and administartion personal, this can set a good example for females for their future. They also included that if females are put into a more inclusive environment, the talents of all the genders will be maximized and therefore keeping everyone in sport. [9]

[edit] Existing Physical Activity Programs

1. Right to Play [2]

‘Right to Play’ is an organization which initiates programs to promote physical activity for all types of people, such as campaigns to empower women to participate in sport. They bring awareness to how women often are limited in their education and can learn a lot from the ability to participate in sport. They also draw attention to the fact that it is mutually beneficial for governments to involve women in sport, because with proper education and physical nourishment, women are able to rise above poverty and raise the standard of living within their country.

2. Females Using Energy for Life (F.U.E.L)" [3] Evidence reveals that girls are significantly less active than their female counterparts as only 4% of them are receiving the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. To address these concerns, Niagara Region Public Health, in partnership with the YMCA of Niagara, the District School Board of Niagara, and the Niagara Catholic District School Board, introduced a pilot program called Females Using Energy for Life (F.U.E.L) targeting female adolescents at three secondary schools in St. Catharines. F.U.E.L takes place once a week after school and also offers ten guided health discussions focusing on self-esteem, physical activity, nutrition, dating and sexual health. [10]

3. Fit Spirit [4]

Fit spirit is an organization that provides challenges for adolescent teens to involve them in activities. Their website caters to the current teen generation to make sport cool and to empower girls. This website does not limit the challenges to girls however its target audience is obvious girls. Their mission as stated on their website is "Fit spirit is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help teenage girls discover the advantages and the enjoyment that come from taking part in physical activity in an environment that is positive, promotes a healthy self image and is open to everyone."[11]

4. The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (C.A.A.W.S) and the Canadian Active After School Partnership (C.A.A.S.P) [5]

'CAAWS' is a Canadian based organization that focuses on the issue of gender equity. They strive to ensure equality for girls and women by promoting and elaborating an education board member in the many systems in which physical activity is important. The policy was developed based on research conducted in the spring of 2011 and involved delivering healthy living and activity programs to adolescent females. Their aim is to provide physical activity needs to girls after school from 3:00 to 6:00 pm. It has been found that girls do not participate in physical education class due to barriers and their unique differences from males. A specific approach was designed to meet the needs of females and get them involved. The aim of the partnership is to influence policy development, focusing on a better use of facilities, inclusion and equal access for all. They believe that every girl should be able to participate in an after school activity program of her choice that is accessible and affordable for her family. Their aim is to provide moderate and vigorous physical activity while focusing on fun, social skill development, leadership skills, self-confidence and self-esteem.

5. Go Girls! [6]

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada has developed a program for females between the ages of 12 and 14 to promote healthy bodies and healthy minds. It is a group mentoring program that focuses on physical activity, balanced eating and self-esteem in attempt to positively shape the lives of young females in Canada. It consists of 7-10 mentoring sessions and is held after school once a week. Each session ranges from 1.5-2 hours long, primarily focusing on physical activity, healthy eating, self-esteem and communication skills. Go Girls focuses on acknowledging the benefits of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, promoting healthy eating habits and an understanding of eating disorder risks, and offer guidance in establishing and maintaining friendships to make a difference in the lives of young females. [12]


6. "Boys & Girls Club of Canada" [7]

A program that can be found all across Canada that supports gender equality and provides a fun atmosphere for the youth who participate is The Boys & Girls Club of Canada. Boys & Girls Club establishments can be found all across the various regions of Canada giving youth around Canada an opportunity to connect with friends, take part in various sports and recreational activities and learn how to become leaders in their communities. The Boys & Girls Club of Niagara is that which is local to our region with locations in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Fort Erie. [14]

[edit] Best Practice Activity Suggestions

Proven tactics to promoting gender equality as shown by the programs above involve the principle of being well integrated in communities because it ensures a future promotion of physical literacy. Integrating programs such as Fit Spirit and FUEL in communities works because once the leaders of the community are involved they will promote physical literacy on a continual basis. One of the barriers women face towards physical activity is the lack of visible role models. This is because overall today female athletes still receive lower pay than male athletes, so it is difficult for female athletes to have the drive to continue to a professional level. The values reported on the Women's sport Foundation web site demonstrate the difference in pay scale using the WNBA as an example "For a WNBA player in the 2005 season, the minimum salary was $31,200, the maximum salary was $89,000, and the team salary cap was $673,000. For NBA players in the 2004-2005 season, the minimum salary was $385,277, the maximum salary was $15.355 million, and the team salary cap was $46 million."[15]. To improve the involvement of females in professional sport we need to improve the incentive to continue participating after their school years because of the expense of competing in these sports gets to high. The foundation for women in sport suggests to increase the number of women in sport and the funding for these women is to promote the number of people attending women's sporting events, encourage television stations to cover women's sporting events. By celebrating all individuals in sport and providing programs in communities that promote physical activity in both genders we can increase participation of both genders to a more equal level.

[edit] Fundamentals of Inclusion


Celebrate success for both gender games

  • Schools: Schools and Teachers can have an amazing influence on their children towards promoting physical literacy by Celebrating the success of individuals to promote them to continue and further their goals.
  • Community: Celebrating the success of an individual is often done through local media coverage however governing bodies and community leaders have some control over what is covered based on popularity and local laws for example the cbc regulates the percentage of Canadian content in media.
  • Media: Statistics have shown that not much has changed in the world of coverage over the years as shown in this statistic in the article by Robin Hextrum, Cheryl Cooky, Ph.D., and Michael A. Messner, Ph.D. "ESPN’s nationally‐televised program Sports Center devoted only 1.4% of its airtime to coverage of women’s sports, a decline in their coverage of women’s sports compared with 1999 (2.2%) and 2004 (2.1%). " In their article they state that with the many women that compete in sports today if they were to get more coverage in the media it will promote young girls to participate more actively in sports because they will have strong and prevalent role models[17]

Avoid looking for Issues & Foster Equal Relationships

  • Schools: Teachers must avoid segregating the genders by promoting one over the other in Physical Education to avoid discouraging individuals. To foster equal relationships school boards should have coed physical education to have individuals grow up working with people of the opposite gender so it is less of an anomaly.
  • Community: Community leaders should seek to promote both male, female and cooperative activities and they must try their best to not encourage one group of sport programs over the other. This often happens through the politics of money, community politicians want to make the community happy by providing funding into programs that are already successful. However, if female based programs don't receive funding because they aren't as popular they will struggle and add to the lower rate of physical literacy in female individuals.
  • Media: The Olympics often does a great job of showing the relationships between fellow athletes this is an excellent way that media can foster equal relationships between athletes.

Involve the all the Participants & Provide opportunities for participants to shine

  • School: Some Canadian school curriculums segregate males and females into different classes this inhibits them from having the competition and can often limit females as the level of some females of physical ability are higher than their peers coed physical education classes are able to provide these challenges and to stop the cycle of females and males seeing each other as separate.
  • Community: Community Leaders/Politicians should seek to promote their current activities that are successful and lesser known programs that promote equal participation.
  • Media: In the article GENDER IN TELEVISED SPORTS by Robin Hextrum, Cheryl Cooky, Ph.D., and Michael A. Messner, Ph.D. they speak to the fact that even today the media doesn't cover female sports as often. If the media was to even out the coverage they would be involving all participants equally

[edit] Example Games that Promote Inclusion

  • 'Cooperative games/Initiative games'

Cooperative games provide an integral part of promoting gender equality in physical education and recreational programs. This is because they focus on teamwork, inclusion and fun. They challenge individuals to work together.

- Cross the waterfall - This is a great game that challenges one intellectually. It requires problem solving and work together while being physical active. The object of the game is they have scooter, a rope, a base and they have to travel from one side of the gym to the other with their team without touching the ground.

- Infinity Ball - This game focuses on specific skills towards volleyball while working together as a team. The point of the game is to see how many times each team can volley the ball over the net, this works on relaying skills and communication. The equipment needed is the standard equipment for volleyball (volleyball net and ball). This game could be very good at promoting gender equality especially if you ensure that groups are of equal ability. [18]

  • 'Invasion and Territory'

- Ultimate Frisbee- This is a great game to get everyone involved and moving in a fun way. The amount of people on the playing area at one time is 6. To make sure the game is equal for both male and female, each team has to have 3 females and 3 males on at one time. This can assure that there is no favouring one gender. Ultimate Frisbee is fast paced game in which everyone is constantly running to get open and defend.

- European Team Handball- Similar to Ultimate Frisbee, this game also has 6 outfielders playing at a time, so teams can have 3 females and 3 males on at one time. Since there is a goal keeper involved, a possible instructor can rotate the goalie so that it is not the same gender every time. An instructor can modify the game and say that everyone on the team has to touch the ball before they are allowed to score. If they do not do so, the goal cannot count.

  • 'Net and Wall'

-Lobster Ball- Lobster ball is an informal game that can be modified in order for it to be equal for both genders. The game is against only two people. The description to this game is found below. To make this game equal to both genders, opponents can be set by height. The opponents can also be separated so it is females against males.


-Doubles Badminton- Instead of playing singles badminton, teams of two can be made. To make this game more gender equal, one male and one female can be on one team. Also, the teams can have the genders on opposite of the court when playing against another team.

  • 'Striking and Fielding'

-Around The Bases- This games is similar to baseball. One teams starts at bat, and the other starts out field. There are also bases to run around to get to home base. To make this game more gender equal, the two teams can be separated with a equal number of males and females. Also, when the teams are playing, the instructor can make sure that there is a certain number of females playing

-Kick Ball- To make this game more gender equal, the batting order can be made so it is alternating male, female. Also, an equal number of males and females are separated on each team. Also, in the outfield, there can be an equal number of males and females out there.

  • 'Target'

-Disc Golf- This game is great to get people involved. This game can be modified to be equal for both genders. Game groups can be divided into 4 people. The groups can be divided into two teams of two. The teams need to have at least one female and one male.

-Bocce Ball- To make this game gender equal, the teams can be split up by having one male and one female on each of the teams of two.

[edit] Future Directions

[edit] Sport Influence

Gender is the foundation in which society portrays the role, behaviours and activities in which is appropriate for men and women. Sport can be used to promote the importance of future development in uniting the differences caused by gender inequality among all individuals. Sport is the most integral part of any country and has implications of masculinity and femininity. These influences can have impacts on the direction of the levels of participation among women, the access to resources and education on the benefits of sport participation.

Sport can increase self esteem by improving skills, engaging in positive relationships, giving a sense of accomplishment, reducing social isolation and gaining public recognition. Sport programs also gives women an opportunity for widening their leadership skills and giving them a sense of empowerment. Participation among both genders in sport programs can diminish the idea that men are superior to women with their physical characteristics and instead focus on the ability of each individual.

[edit] Developing Programs in Early Stages of development

Focus on inclusion with female and male programs needs emphasis in early stages of development to build a foundation in understanding participation on physical activity and program participation in later stages in life. Gym classes especially during grade school should focus on incorporating and encouraging females to be apart of physical activity.

The issue of the discrepancy on male and female participation in physical activity is well known and is a challenge that many organizations and leaders are prioritizing in order to develop programs for equality. Many programs have developed through out the years as society progresses and educating other of the issue is a high priority. Further development of programs are rapidly increasing in many small and large communities and there are increasing number of programs that focus on its importance.

[edit] External Links

TGfU Special Interest Group


Physical and Health Education Canada

Right to Play:

Women's Sport Foundation:

[edit] Notes and References

  1. SANKOFATitleIX. (14 Jul 2011). Gender Equity in Sports and Educational Opportunities ... The Time is Now[Video file]. Retrieved from
  2. SANKOFATitleIX. (14 Jul 2011). Gender Equity in Sports -- Respecting the Player and the Game! [Video file]. Retrieved from
  3. Watkins, k. "Significant Events for Women in Sports." Timetoast. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. <>.
  4. Coakley & Donnelly. (2009). Studying the past. In (Ed.) Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies (pp. 47-78). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
  5. Eldar, E., & Ayvazo, S. (2009). Educating through the physical - Rationale. Education & Treatment of Children, 32, 471-486. Available online: [1]
  6. Vertinsky, P. (1983). The Evolving Policy of Equal Curricular Opportunity in England: A Case Study of the Implementation of Sex Equality in Physical Education. British Journal of Education Studies, 31.
  7. Hardin, M., & Whiteside, E. (2009). The Power of "Small Stories:" Narratives and Notions of Gender Equality in Conversations About Sport. Sociology Of Sport Journal, 26(2), 255-276.
  8. Reeser, J. (2005). Gender identity in sport: is the playing field level?.
  9. Lyras, A(2013). Sport and Social Change. 'Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance'. pg 6 - 8. web.
  10. Leyenaar, S. (2011)> Females Using Energy for Life. Retrieved from: [accessed Feb. 22, 2014].
  11. mission and values. (2011). FitSpirit RSS. Retrieved March 8, 2014, from
  12. MacDonal, B. (n.d) Go Girls! Group Meeting: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds. Retrieved from: [accessed March 12, 2014]
  13. BBBSCanada. (4 Jun 2012). Go Girls! Building self-confidence in young girls[Video file]. Retrieved from
  14. Boys & girls club of canada. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  15. "Women's Sports Foundation." Women's Sports Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. <>.
  16. Francis, N. (2011). Fundamental movement skills: an educator's guide to teaching fundamental movement skills. Ottawa, Ont.: PHE Canada.
  17. Robin Hextrum, Cheryl Cooky, Ph.D., and Michael A. Messner, Ph.D.(2010)GENDER IN TELEVISED SPORTS NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS, 1989‐2009, 3-5
  18. Gates, D. (2004). Cooperative Games and Activities - Retrieved March 19, 2014, from
  19. Joey Fieth.(October 31, 2013). Lobster Ball (Net&Wall)[video file]. Retrieved from

Personal tools
Bookmark and Share