The Female Athlete Experience: A Multigenerational Examination

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Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


This study used qualitative methods to conduct a multigenerational analysis on the female athlete experience. While studies on the female athlete experience have been conducted, this study offers a unique contribution in that it analyzes this experience from a multigenerational perspective. The research has shown that the female athlete experience remains at a deficit in comparison to the male athlete experience. Although there are more women involved in the realm of sports today, females face societal challenges associated with the male hegemony of sport including issues of identity as a result of stereotyping, media coverage, fan support, and opportunities such as in the job market of coaching and broadcasting (Pacheco et al., 2012). The rationale for this project aims to bring awareness and highlight the extreme discrepancies between men’s and women’s sports. The research question this study is focused on is, “has the female athlete experience improved in its accessibility of resources, across generations?”. The research method employed for this study was interviewing. Ten interviews were conducted with women between the ages of 20-63 who have played a variety of sports, with a combination of face to face and email interviews. Respondents played a variety of sports, at a variety of competitive levels. Key findings show that although resources for female athletes have improved across generations, there are still many discrepancies between the multitude of resources provided for male athletes versus the lack of resources for female athletes. My findings show that resources for female athletes have improved, but have not become equal to male athlete resources. The study is limited in that it only includes the experience of ten women, and does not account for the experiences of current and former female athletes from all over the world. I argue that despite improvements across generations, the female athlete experience is not equitable to that of the male athlete experience in our society.


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