THE IMPACT OF ACTIVITY CHOICE AND STEREOTYPING WITHIN SECONDARY SCHOOLS ON GIRLS’ PERCEPTIONS OF FOOTBALL PARTICIPATION
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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A considerable amount of literature regarding women’s experiences in football has related to the ways women who play football are perceived and treated within a predominantly masculine sport. However, while football has been extensively associated with males, recent research has highlighted an increase in girls’ participation of football over the last decade. In spite of this, the awareness and representation of women’s football remains considerably underdeveloped in contrast to men’s football. This study hopes to shed light on whether the education system affects the growth and development of girls’ football at grassroots level. Focus will firstly be given to understanding whether activity choice within PE lessons affects the participants’ decision to participate in football. Secondly, to understand if stereotypes surrounding women in sport affect the participants’ decision to participate in football. This research gains and in-depth and rich understanding of the experiences and perceptions of female secondary students, in order to shed light on the possible limitations to opportunities and/or stereotypes that impact football participation. The interpretive, qualitative method was utilised to learn about females’ perceptions of football and specifically how these perceptions were affected within a school environment. Furthermore, five extensive focus group interviews were carried out with 6-8 girls’ aged 11- 16 from each year group. The focus group interviews were transcribed and coded to identify key themes from the data. Through the analysis of the focus groups a number of significant themes emerged: (a) Opportunities in Physical Activity, (b) Stereotypes vs Ability, (c) Male Dominance, (d) Relations with Mothers and (e) Experience. The main findings from this study firstly highlight the family as a significant factor influencing the socialisation of their daughters into sport. Secondly, the opportunities received within school does effect girls’ involvement in football. Furthermore, implications for future research include the perceptions of parents towards their daughter’s involvement in football. Additionally, an understanding into the views of secondary school aged girl’s already involved in football and their perceptions of how school effects their playing.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
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