Access to sport for girls and women developed slowly and gradually throughout the 20th century. However, inequality persists. Despite proactive public policies, a majority of girls, especially in working class urban areas, continue to be removed from the world of sport.
Sociologists are endeavouring to explain how the social, family and institutional environments contribute to the perpetuity of this de facto exclusion.
Highlighting the mechanisms that generate inequalities – unsuitable infrastructure, stereotypes linked to sports and gender, the approach of coaches, interactions between youths, whether mixed or not – can lead to more targeted public policies and better management of mixed-gender participation in sports facilities and associations.
Removing these obstacles from the world of sport is a way to combat gender-based and social discrimination more broadly, which can have a knock-on effect in other social and professional contexts.