Health, gender and inequality in sport A historical perspective

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This chapter outlines the ways in which Western medical theories have shaped inequalities in sport, focusing in particular on the relationship between medicine and gender in sports and physical exercise from the nineteenth through to the early twenty-first century. It suggests that historians may have overstated the medical critique of exercise in the nineteenth century, obscuring the level of, and support for, female participation; but also that ‘separate but equal’ was a principle upheld by both the medical and sporting establishment when it came to women’s participation in the early twentieth century. It finishes with the most high-profile conflict between medical theory and sporting practice – the introduction of sex tests in sport – demonstrating how inequalities can interact in intersectional ways. Further, it highlights that women’s participation in exercise can be limited by their absence in scientific and medical studies as much as by the over-scrutiny of their bodies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-658-29273-7
ISBN (Print) 9783658292720
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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