Women In Soccer Social Barriers, North America
In this study, we found that race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, obesity, other physical characteristics, and discrimination are some social attitudes and barriers that prevent women from playing soccer in North America. Below is a detailed explanation of our methodology and findings.
We initially started the research by searching for the social attitudes and barriers that prevent women from playing soccer in North America from media publications/articles such as HuffPost, Adidas, TIME, YourStory, and many more. From these sources, we found some relevant information regarding women who play soccer in North America, but most of the information has a global focus. We also looked through research studies conducted by Oxford, Harvard Business Review, and other sports-related organizations such as sportanddev.org, Commonwealth Foundation, and many more that specified barriers and discrimination against women who play soccer in North America.
As our research progresses, we find that information related to women who play soccer in North America is limited and more information was focused globally, so we attempted to use sources that have been published for more than two years to provide a comprehensive overview. After finding relevant information regarding women who play soccer in North America, we were able to provide an in-depth analysis of the social attitudes and barriers that prevent women from playing soccer in North America. We have assumed that the social attitudes and and barriers that prevent women from playing any sport or physical activity in North America are the same as those that prevent women from playing soccer in North America. Another assumption made based on one of our sources is that global barriers to women’s participation in sports/physical activity is similar to those in the U.S. and Canada since they are both part of the Commonwealth and are board members of sportanddev.org.
SOCIAL ATTITUDES AND BARRIERS THAT PREVENT WOMEN IN PLAYING SOCCER IN NORTH AMERICA
Cultural diversity, which includes gender, race and ethnicity, language, spirituality, sexuality, and physicality, is a powerful influence in sports, exercise, and performance psychology. Inequalities in gender and race also exist in soccer. An example would be African Americans being overrepresented in the U.S. than other racial and ethnic minorities.
There is an increase in female participation in youth and college sports in the latest generation in the U.S. However, the numbers of female and male participants are still not equal. This is primarily because of lesser opportunities for sports for women than men. Sports-related projects in the U.S. are challenged in encouraging women to participate in sports especially in looking to identify, train, and develop more female coaches to support women’s participation in sports. Based on the racial report card in 2015, the whites hold 90% of the athletic director positions and less than 10% are women. Gender stereotyping/discrimination in sports also prevents women from playing soccer.
SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES AND STEREOTYPES
According to Jessie Bernard, a sociologist and feminist scholar, the social worlds are still very different for genders including youth sports, male and female elite athletes, or women and men in programs related to physical activities. The gender stereotypes are prevailing showing that expressive activities such as dancing, gymnastics are considered feminine, while combative and contact sports are considered masculine. On the other hand, other activities such as tennis and swimming are considered neutral. Another major barrier is a sociocultural barrier which means that women should not be competitive, should not have a muscular body, and other socially unacceptable behaviors. Adidas is working in the U.S. to stand against barriers for women in sports. This is seen at a community level since funding efforts are initiated on campus to encourage women to engage in sports in college. Female athletes still feel lesser than male in the sports field compared to other places. Sexism hinders the female coaches, commentators, and audience to come out and engage in sports.
Economic barriers include of lack of time, lack of appropriate, safe and accessible infrastructure, and without adequate clothing, while knowledge barriers include lack of awareness of the benefits of physical activity/sports. Female soccer players have to deal with the myths including sports bringing potential damage to female fertility. Compared to the U.S. men’s soccer team, the U.S. women’s soccer team dominates worldwide and is in need of government support.