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A comparative analysis of gender disparities in British football and British athletics

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The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the insidious reproduction of gender norms in contemporary sporting arenas.

The focus on elite sport derives from the work of Veblen who places a significant faith in the ability of elite sport to impact and transform sport at all levels, also commonly known as the ‘trickle-down effect’. As such, this work compares the organisation of British athletics and football at administrative level, the gendered media coverage of these sports, as well as the public perceptions of sport and gender.

The thesis borrows from the work of Pirinen, who claims that the struggle to secure gender equality in sport is far from over. Utilising a triangulation of data, the research incorporates the following three methods; Semi-structured interview, online questionnaires and a content and discourse media analysis.

The research concerns itself with attitudes and behaviours associated with gender and thus endeavour to expose the attitudes of sportsmen and women, whilst also stressing the relationship and importance of the media and the administrative bodies of sport. This work problematise’s the gendered ideology surrounding sport; ideologies which regard women and men as having a fixed biological and psychological nature that are essentially different. In other words, this thesis contends that a gendered ideology in sport works in the continued reproduction and construction of binary differences between men and women.

This thesis criticises elite sport for naturalising such gendered differences and, most importantly, for the way in which sport has been linked to hegemonic masculinity. Overall, the main aim of this work is to uncover the exclusionary practices in sport which reproduce naturalised gender(ed) categories.



editors comments

Editor's comments -  [ The above is the abstract from an original MPhil thesis; the final publication in the study for the author in pursuit of a post graduate degree; such works result in the author being awarded a MPhil and often platforms study toward a PhD from an accedited University.

An MPhil thesis often forms the foundation for journal articles for the author and leads to further enquiry. These works are characterised by partially comprehensive literature reviews, sometimes traditional yet multiple (and often mixed) methods, interesting if not ground breaking discussions and always directional signs toward further research; they provide for undergraduates not only a model for the possibilities for further study but a gift in terms of references in any given subject areas.

To reference an eThesis the convention in the text is the same as a book; author (date), in the reference list there is some debate; theses are more often than not, unpublished works, yet when listed on databases at Universities or elsewhere it could be argued that they are published.

Our best advice is to reference list internet sourced theses as ‘published’…. ie.; Author, (date). Title (emphasised). Place of publication and (university) publisher. Available from: URL reference. See our example reference below. ]


APA reference for this document


Reference : McGuigun, Donna Louise (2011) A comparative analysis of gender disparities in British football and British athletics. M.Phil. thesis, Birmingham: University of Birmingham. Available from


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PhD publications are normally published under Creative Commons Licence conditions in that you must attribute the work appropriately (use the reference above), must not distribute for commercial means and must not alter the work in any way. For a full copy of the CCL please see here. [Use of this document may be limited by © copyright ; by downloading you consent to our terms and conditions ]


Access this URL (, Donna Louise (2011) A comparative analysis of gender disparities in British football and British athletics. M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Last Updated on Sunday, 05 August 2012 13:15  

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