Central European Journal of Sport Sciences and Medicine (Jun 2018)

The Conditions of Practicing Association Football by Women

  • Barbara Zdunek,
  • Maria Alicja Nowak

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22


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The aim of the work was to learn about the conditions of practicing football by women and to determine positive effects and negative stereotypes accompanying this discipline, the basis being the opinions of female players, as well as student self-government representatives. The study was conducted among 100 Polish female footballers from Exstraliga, 1st League and 2nd League, along with 31 members of student self-governments, representing all physical education universities in Poland. The diagnostic survey method was employed and the techniques of questionnaire, interview and participatory observation were used. For the statistical inference frequency of characteristics, the chi-square test of independence and multiple correspondence analysis were applied. The analyzes confirmed a significant correlation between the recognition of benefits of playing football by women, the perception of the functioning of negative stereotypes and the sporting level of the groups distinguished. The 2nd and 1st League players associated practicing football with the possibilities for developing their personality traits, physical fitness and health, and promoting the discipline (in each case p ≤ 0.05). All the footballers emphasized the risk of injury. The Extraliga players most often felt the stereotypical perception of female footballers as non-heterosexual (p ≤ 0.05). Attribution of non-heterosexuality to female footballers was confirmed by self-government activists (p ≤ 0.05). Women who played football showed a high tolerance toward non-heterosexual people. The Extraliga players were characterized by the highest tolerance (p ≤ 0.05). CPEU activists represented stereotypical views on the selection of typically feminine sports. Among ten disciplines suitable for women, they did not list women's football. There is an urgent need for public education to combat negative stereotypes concerning women practicing traditional male sports disciplines, as well as for tolerance toward people of a different sexual orientation.