Engendered Sport: A Historical Sociological Study of Doing and Undoing Gender in Sport
Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions, Örebro University – to begin in August 2021
Sports are often divided into ‘male’ and ‘female’ contests, while mixed participation is rare. Moreover, many sports are seen as more appropriate for men than women, and some vice versa. This idea of gender-appropriateness led to women being excluded from weightlifting in the Olympic Games until the year 2000, while men are still barred from practicing Rhythmic Gymnastics. The EU-funded ENGENDEREDsport project will study how international sports federations and participants together create, enforce, and dismantle gender in their sports. Specifically, it will focus on gymnastics, swimming and weightlifting. Through these case studies, it will compare how three sports have been engendered through their international federations’ rules and policies, and how athletes, coaches, officials and governors have experienced gender in their sport. Shedding new light onto the binary gendering of sports as masculine or feminine, the findings will offer new policy recommendations for sports associations.
Coming of Age: Towards Best Practice in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics
Collaborative research project, University of Western Australia (with Gothenburg University and Lincoln University) – completed
‘Coming of Age‘ is a research project that studies how a significant number of ‘older’ elite women’s artistic gymnasts from around the world have been able to continue their athletic careers beyond the age of 20. The results was translated into best practice recommendations , which were hoped to influence more gymnasts to stay in the sport for longer.
A Balance of Power: Women’s Artistic Gymnastics During the Cold War and Its Aftermath
PhD Thesis (History), University of Western Australia – completed
This research traces the development of Women’s Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) during the Cold War and its aftermath. Cold War rivalry heightened the importance of Olympic competition as a demonstration of soft power and national ascendancy. It influenced Olympic policy toward gender, inspired cheating in the gymnastics arena, and saw gymnasts used as political emissaries. The international gymnastics federation successfully handled the sport’s growing popularity and, through public relations and rule changes, countered external criticism. Through its re-evaluation of WAG this thesis enhances understanding of sport’s place in both Cold War diplomacy and the broader socio-cultural history of the twentieth century.