Active participation in sport can improve multiple aspects of the lives of girls and women, including mental, physical, and social health. Although sport participation has proven to be beneficial for women, there is a gap between the amount of athletic opportunities available to male and female athletes. One reason for this is the fact that Western society has historically prohibited and discouraged women from occupying spaces designated as masculine, and this includes the world of sport. The major findings of this study identified four common perceptions of female boxers: 1) female boxers as invisible; 2) female boxers as illegitimate athletes; 3) female boxers as unfeminine; and, 4) female boxers as sexualised characters. These perceptions were found to have both positive and negative effects on the psychological connections between female boxers and the sport. For some participants, the perceptions motivated them to demonstrate commitment to the sport while others were swayed towards ambivalence and possible disengagement. Lastly, this study found that hegemony at the institutional, organisational, and individual levels contribute to the promulgation of perceptions of female boxers and maintains their marginalisation and trivialisation within the sport. Implications for the sport’s future development of a culture more receptive to inclusivity and growth are identified.

Year Manuscript Completed



Gender and Sexuality | Sports Medicine | Sports Sciences


Sports for women; Social aspects; Sex differences; Sexism in sports.

Primary Language of Manuscript


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