Sport is an important social activity in contemporary Irish society. We need only glance at the daily and weekly coverage given to sporting events in the print and visual media to appreciate its fundamental role. Its full significance, however, is not in its prevalence, but in the manner in which it imparts key social meanings about individual/group identity as well as about ways of living. In this chapter, I firstly look at the relationship between sport and gender, specifically the role of sport in the construction and reproduction of cultural conceptions of gender but also, how our ideological notions of gender structure sport. Evidence for this can be seen in rates of participation in sport; motivation for and, popularity of, sporting activities and; perceptions of sporting and physical activities as gender-appropriate. I then address the social and economic context in which sport exists, focusing in particular on the process of commercialisation and its impact on sport per se. In the final section, I focus on the interplay between cultural and economic factors by highlighting issues in the commercialisation of women’s sports. I conclude with some thoughts on the future of women’s sports in Ireland.
|Publication status||Published - 18 Jul 2001|