• Girls, young women and sport in Norway: A case study of sporting convergence amid favourable socio-economic conditions

      Green, Ken; Thurston, Miranda; Vaage, Odd; Mordal-Moen, Kjersti; University of Chester; Hedmark University (Taylor & Francis, 2015-04-14)
      Based primarily on quantitative data from the Norwegian Statistisk Sentralbyrå (Statistics Norway) study of Mosjon, Friluftsliv og Kulturaktiviteter, this paper explores sports participation among females – and girls and young women, in particular – in Norway in the early years of the twenty-first century. In line with the observation that sport can be considered epiphenomenal, the paper argues that the comparatively high levels and marked increases in sports participation among young women are likely to have a great deal to do with their socio-economic status and, in particular, the diminishing gender gap over the past two decades. In short, the paper argues that trends in sports participation between 1997 and 2007 suggest that while young women in Norway may not be self-described feminists, they are heirs to the culture fostered by second-wave feminism: they have taken advantage of growing up in a country where standards of living are particularly high and at a time of greater equality between the sexes in order, among other things, to exploit the sporting opportunities increasingly available to them. In terms of the policy implications, the most salient lesson to be learned from the Norwegian situation – by countries keen to promote sports participation among girls and young women – is that instead of individually oriented approaches, sports policies need first and foremost to adopt society-level perspectives that address socio-economic gender disparities.