Women Are Not Monolithic

Work thumb

Views: 228

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2023, Common Ground Research Networks, All Rights Reserved


More girls and women are playing sport than ever before. If athletes participate in safe and healthy competitive environments, they can reap psychological, social, physical, and physiological benefits. In addition, opportunities to learn and improve socially valued skills like hard work and teamwork are plentiful. Unfortunately, not all girls and women experience equitable access and participatory experiences. Ideologies associated with aspects of identity, including, but not limited to, gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, and ability challenge equitable access and experiences for girls and women in sport. Women are not monolithic. As such, different aspects of identity intersect creating unique barriers for some girls and women. Drawing from the literature, this article will identify and explore the multitude of ways ableist and gender ideologies influence the creation and support of barriers faced by female athletes with physical disabilities. This article will also explore how laws in the United States including Title IX, the Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act have contributed to improving access but have yet to meaningfully influence sport to become truly inclusive. Finally, suggestions for positive change at the youth, interscholastic, and intercollegiate levels will be suggested, including, but not limited to, changes to coaching education practices; identification of physical, social, and psychological skill development strategies; identification of effective and inclusive practice design and delivery approaches; and tangible steps to create and facilitate mentorship opportunities. Creating lasting and meaningful change is critical to ensuring girls and women with physical disabilities can reap the benefits of sport engagement for generations to come.