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(SDAC5002) Contemporary Issues in Sport

Assessment 1: Part A(length-1500)

Essay: Analyse the relationship between sport, social inclusion and diversity within
contemporary society.

o Introduction
o Define sport in the context of sociology
o Explain the terms equality, diversity and inclusion (context of sport)
o Choose 1 contemporary issue within sport
o Which theorist and theory relates to the identified contemporary issue
o Discuss the above and explain the relevance to sport
o Refer to any local, national and international organisations that work towards the
identified contemporary issue
o Conclusion

Solution:

Essay

Contemporary Issues in Sports

Introduction

History is evident that sports have played an important role in the lives of the people and communities as a whole all over the world. Today there are various contests organized that push the physical power of the athletes. Such events and contests are gaining popularity which has also increased in recent past years (Yenilmez, 2021). As there is an increasing interest in the health, financial, political, social and overall impact of sports in society. There has been more and more interest in sports among the individual’s groups and communities from the point of view of investments (Kelinske et al., 2001). Hence, sports are playing a vital role in society and its role is expected to improve in the future as well. Sports has not only involved people in themselves as players but also as the audience wherein both playing and watching sports has proved to help relieve stress from their day to day lives and most importantly coming together as a whole community (Evans, 2006). When a country hosts a sports event, it helps in boosting the tourism and the revenue as well for that country. Likewise, sports have a significant role to play concerning gender representation, race, culture and much more (Agergaard, 2016). All these aspects have related issues evolved. One such important issue is related to gender which acts as a contemporary issue in sports sociology (Moawad, 2019). Gender representation in sports has been a serious issue that is prevailing in almost all parts of the world. Needless to say, the issue needs immediate redressal. This is because female participation has been discouraged in sports because of patriarchal ideologies and most of the talented females are losing opportunities because of such mindset (Agergaard, 2016).

Sports in the context of sociology

An important sub-discipline of sociology is sports sociology. When the topic of sports is studied in the context of the sociology subject it is referred to as sports sociology. The focus of this discipline is on sports as a social concept (Evans, 2006). It is a study about the relationship between sports and society which involves various social-cultural dimensions, patterns, structures, groups and organizations which are involved with sports (Moawad, 2019). The purpose of studying this subject is to have a deeper understanding and discussion about the impact of sports on an individual and as a whole society in terms of financial, social, political and economic aspects. Sociology of sports strives to view and understand the actions and behavior of all the sports players along with their team members from the point of view of a sociologist (Talebpour., Nazari Azad and Kashani, 2019).

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The landscape of sports has changed drastically in the recent few years. The community and the overall government are trying to meet the expectations of the people by inducing good practices integrity, equality, good governance including child safeguarding and protecting the rights of the members in which a sporting event that is fair and inclusive is imperative and no longer an aspiration. Sports sociology equality means treating all individuals equally irrespective of their gender, race, backgrounds, financial status or any other factor (Moawad, 2019).

Inclusion means welcoming individuals from all age groups, gender, background and abilities and are equally respected. When people come from different backgrounds and attributes such as race, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation), it is known as diversity (Senne, 2016).

While diversity means individuals belonging to different backgrounds such as linguistic background, age, sexual orientation, gender, culture, race, and religion, inclusion means bringing all these people from different backgrounds together to work in harmony (Kelinske et al., 2001).

Contemporary issue in Sports: Gender inequality

The gender gap and under representation of women in sports is one significant issue that is prevailing at all levels and all the places in the sports industry (Moawad, 2019). When the participation of females is not encouraged as sports players, audience and even as mentors or coaches, it is called as under-representation of women in the sports industry resulting in huge gender gaps and be it any sport, the case is the same (Yenilmez, 2021). Although sociologists encourage equal participation and the creation of opportunities for males and females in sports, yet the reality is somewhat different from what is explained in the theories. Women are considered physically weak in comparison to the male gender (Evans, 2006). This has resulted in a glass ceiling for them as coaches as well as sports players wherein only one in four coaches are only female coaches (Nogueira et al., 2018). This is quite evident that the gender gap in sports is quite high and many talented female players, especially young players and experienced ones have lost opportunities (Scheerder et al., 2007). Although with time, female participation has increased it is still lesser in comparison to male participation in sports. For example, Muslim women are not encouraged to participate in sports much (Agergaard, 2016).

Theory related to the contemporary issue

The theory which is related to the contemporary issue of the gender gap in sports is the conflict theory which is given by the famous sociologist Karl Marx. According to this theory, there is a lack of interconnectivity between the various social groups or classes. This theory rightly defines the contemporary issue of the gender gap wherein the male and female social groups have a vast gap in participation in various sports activities (Zapico, 2014). These two segments are competing for the highly limited resources available wherein the powerful segment which is the male segment winning over the female segment (Senne, 2016). The male segment is considered to be more powerful, oppressive and exertive and hence is accessing more sports opportunities as resources in comparison to the female segment which is considered to be less powerful (Bailey et al., 2004). This theory explains how these differences and inequalities are supporting social gaps which is the gender gap in sports (Jay, 2017).  

Organizations working to address the issue of the gender gap in sports

There are various organizations which are working to address the issue of gender gap and inequality in sports industry. One such organization is Women in Sport foundation which was founded by a group of female sports players in the year 1984. This foundation aims to create leaders for tomorrow by bringing in and encouraging female participation in various sports by bringing in and encouraging the involvement of females in various sports, the organization aims to reduce the gender gap prevailing in the sports industry. This organization has been working for over the years to bring gender equality in which equal opportunities and chances are provided to the young girls and females concerning training and education, promotion and participation as well as codetermination while taking decisions related to the sports. The involvement and participation of the females even in the decision-making committee are very less and the organization also aims to address this issue as well (Stull, 2013). The focus of this organization is also on imparting education among the females in the decision-making processes related to sports utilizing various mentorship programs such as This Girl Can which encourages the females from all aspects such as encouraging female participation in sports, decision-making committee mentoring the sports teams. The organization also helps in promoting the involvement of the women representatives in the state, national and international delegations at the scientific political and practical events which are related to the sports. With the help of the various activities taking place within this organization, there has been increasing encouragement and cooperation in addressing the gender gap in various countries at the bilateral and multilateral levels. The organization has also helped in the cultivation of relations with the organizations working at the national and international level working to address the similar contemporary issue of the gender gap in the sports industry. Not only this organization is also helping to enhance and improve the scientific research and understand the perspective of the females and support them as well (Kelinske et al., 2001).

Conclusion

Gone are the times when women used to be considered weaker section of the society, particularly in terms of physical weakness. As a matter of fact, these women are breaking all records and bringing glory to their families and nation thereby proving themselves to be a stronger section of the society (Svender et al., 2012). However, this ratio is very less. In fact, it is quite evident that the gender gap in the sports industry is an important contemporary issue in sports that has been prepared over the years and has resulted in the lower participation of females in various sports (Telama et al. 2014). This has resulted in depriving the females who are experienced and knowledgeable and deserve to participate and share their knowledge and experience for the country. Therefore, various organizations have come forward to address this issue and encourage women participation in sports because the participation of females not only helps to keep them fit but also help in empowering them. Given the right support, the mindset of the audience can be rightly changed for a better which shall eventually help in bringing down the gender gap in the sports industry (Kelinske et al., 2001). This gender gap would not only bring glory for the nation itself but would also help in empowering the nation by empowering the female section of the society by means of physical fitness and sports.

References

Agergaard, S., 2016. Religious culture as a barrier? A counter-narrative of Danish Muslim girls’ participation in sports. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health8(2), pp.213-224.

Bailey, R., Wellard, I. and Dismore, H., 2004. Girls’ participation in physical activities and sports: Benefits, patterns, influences and ways forward. World Health Organisation.

Evans, B., 2006. ‘I’d feel ashamed’: Girls’ bodies and sports participation. Gender, place & culture, 13(5), pp.547-561.

Jay, J.E., 2017. Women’s Participation in Sports: Four Feminist Perspectives. Tex. J. Women & L., 7, p.1.

Kelinske, B., Mayer, B.W. and Chen, K.L., 2001. Perceived benefits from participation in sports: A gender study. Women in Management Review.

Moawad, J., 2019. Gender inequality in sports. FairPlay, Revista de Filosofia, Ética y Derecho del Deporte, (13), pp.28-53.

Nogueira, A., Molinero, O., del Valle, A.S., Lucidi, F. and Márquez, S., 2018. Identification of gender discrimination in sports: Training of agents of change. Revista de Psicologia Del Deporte, 27(3), p.43.

Scheerder, J., Taks, M. and Lagae, W., 2007. Teenage girls’ participation in sports. An intergenerational analysis of socio-cultural predictor variables. European Journal for Sport and Society, 4(2), pp.133-150.

Senne, J.A., 2016. Examination of gender equity and female participation in sport. The Sport Journal, 19, pp.1-9.

Stull, J., 2013. Individual decision-making in a social context: the sociological determinants of female sports participation. In Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Svender, J., Larsson, H. and Redelius, K., 2012. Promoting girls’ participation in sports: discursive constructions of girls in a sports initiative. Sport, education and society, 17(4), pp.463-478.

Talebpour, A., Nazari Azad, M. and Kashani, M., 2019. Sociological Analysis of Gender Inequality in Sport (The Perspective of Female National Hero Athlete). Quarterly Journal of Women and Society, 10(40), pp.289-316.

Telama, R., Laakso, L. and Yang, X., 2014. Physical activity and participation in sports of young people in Finland. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 4(1), pp.65-74.

Yenilmez, M.I., 2021. Gender Inequality and Female Sports Participation in Turkey. Central European Journal of Sport Sciences and Medicine, 33, pp.27-41.

Zapico, B., Tuero, C., Espartero, J. and González-Boto, R., 2014. The socialisation process and gender inequality in school sports. Science & Sports, 29, p.S20.

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