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Women in Sports & Politics

The Olympic Games demonstrates how women have been denied access to participation in sports and have been marginalized due to a brand of politics dominated and imposed by men. Such political considerations have long repressed female identity and continue to motivate an increasing number of women who create their own contests, leagues, sporting spaces, and ideologies. As Pfister (2003) explains, this is not much different than the opportunities and challenges faced by women who wished to participate in sports during the 1920s in American society, 'There were two possibilities open to women who wished to practice sport in general and competitive sports in particular: they could either try to integrate and become part of men's sports or they could establish their own associations and organize their own competition,' (5). Despite women's sport finding its way into the spotlight during the 1980s and 1990s, there is still a long way to go before females compete in sporting competitions to the degree that males do. As Pfister (2003) reveals, 'Even today approximately 60% of all Olympic athletes are men. Of the 160 countries that took part in the Seoul Olympic, 42 sent only men' (15).

Many countries continue to exclude women from sports and participation in the political process. Muslim women are permitted to enter only four Olympic competitions because officials view the others as inappropriate for women. As Burstyn (2003) argues, 'The link between sports, politics and gender is strong, long-standing, and complex. Sports and sport training, throughout much of history, have been the training ground for the men who held political control' (882). As the women's movement gained momentum in the 1970s, more and more women took to participation in sports and other physical activities that typically had been a bastion of male exclusivity. During the 1990s, increasing numbers of women participated in recreational and competitive sports....

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Women in Sports & Politics. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:57, August 24, 2017, from
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