Young men have more gender stereotypes in sport than women

Mario Alguacil Jiménez, one of the researchers and  at the Faculty of Physical A
Mario Alguacil Jiménez, one of the researchers and at the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences of the UV.
Researchers from the Universitat de València and the Catholic University of Valencia have demonstrated a change of mentality towards gender stereotypes in sport in young men. A research with secondary and high school students has shown that after a didactic intervention from a gender perspective approach, men, who started from a medium level of stereotypes, improved their perception more than women, who started from low levels and maintained their vision.

The study, published by Jesús Díaz Frígola, Mario Alguacil Jiménez and Manel Reig i Giner in the journal Retos, aimed to find out students’ attitudes about gender stereotypes in sport and then compare them according to gender and which grade they were in. To this end, an intervention was carried out in the Physical Education lessons of a secondary school in Catarroja. The study sample consisted of 259 students from Compulsory Secondary Education and first year of baccalaureate, 58.14% female and 42.86% male, grouped into experimental and control groups in each grade.

Prior to the intervention, they took a test which showed that men have, initially, greater gender stereotypes than women. Women have low levels of stereotypes while men have medium levels. Subsequently, the intervention was planned in which the control groups worked on less stereotyped sports, while the experimental groups in each grade worked on a variety of contents. The teaching staff approached the sessions from a gender perspective, with the aim of breaking down the stereotypes associated with certain sporting practices and contributing to their reduction.

After the educational intervention, men obtained significant improvements in all dimensions: in attitudes related to cognitive aspects, in stereotypes integrated in society, as well as in the attitude shown towards transgression and affective attitudes. On the other hand, women, who already started from a low level of stereotypes, only significantly improved their cognitive attitudes.

"Therefore, the intervention was effective in reducing stereotypical attitudes. However, no significant differences were found depending on the type of content developed in the sessions, as both the experimental and control groups improved", emphasise Jesús Díaz Frígola, Mario Alguacil Jiménez and Manel Reig i Giner. In addition, they point out that the role of the teaching staff and the approach to lessons from a gender perspective are a key element in reducing gender stereotypes related to sport.

Reference article : Díaz-Frígola, J., Alguacil, M., & Reig-Giner, M. (2024). Actitudes del alumnado de educación física en secundaria y 1º de bachillerato ante los estereotipos de género en el deporte. Retos, 53, 250’261 .­.v53.99055