chapter
Introduction
Pages 5

If you go to your local library and look at the sports books, they will almost certainly be predominantly about men. If you go to a university library, the bulk of the writing in sports history and sociology assumes male standards. Switch on your television to look at sports programmes and it's the same story—you can be 90 per cent sure to see male rather than female performers; or go to a pub and listen to conversations about sports and they will inevitably be conducted by men talking about male competitions. In spite of the fact that more women are participating in more sports than ever before, and in spite of a significant number of feminist interventions into sports theory, much more attention is still given to the role of sports in the lives of men than to the importance of sports to women. Sporting Females: critical issues in the history and sociology of women's sports is therefore a political intervention into the world of sports scholarship. It is an effort to bring women's sports more centrally on to the agenda, to show the importance of using gender as a fundamental category for analysis, and to explore some of its complexities.