Sex, sport and money: voice, choice and distributive justice in England, Scotland and Wales

Devine, Cathy (2017) Sex, sport and money: voice, choice and distributive justice in England, Scotland and Wales. Sport, Education and Society, 23 (9). pp. 824-839.

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The three British Sports Councils are instrumental in developing the policy landscape for sport and physical education (PE). They aspire to equality between the sexes in ‘sport and physical recreation’ (SPR), in keeping with their Royal Charters (SE, 2009; SS, 1996; SW, 1997) and the Equality Act (HM Government, 2010). As public bodies they are committed to eliminating direct and indirect discrimination in provision, and advancing equality. One of their main functions is the distribution of public money, and all collect participation data detailing the different SPR choices of the sexes. These are primary planning tools in the three home countries. This paper investigates whether equality in relation to sex is considered a ‘first order’ question of distributive justice for the Councils. Consequently, the funding awarded to the top SPR preferences by sex for each Country is presented. Defining SPR determines eligibility for funding and the boundaries of the SPR infrastructure which influences and interfaces with sport, school sport and PE. Consequently, critical feminist political and economic theory is used to evaluate the Councils’ framing of SPR and equality in relation to sex. Male preferences are disproportionately grant-aided leaving those of females significantly under-funded. Although the remit of the Councils is ‘sport and physical recreation’ this is usually reframed by them as ‘sport’. Equality is generally considered a second order question of justice, and outsourced to national governing bodies of sport. Further dance, one of the most popular female SPR activities for girls, has not, until 2016, been designated as SPR in England and has been ineligible for funding. These policies suggest indirect discrimination against women and girls who disproportionately prefer physical recreation and dance to competitive sport. Therefore, the Sports Councils and/or over-arching government departments may not be fulfilling their legal requirements under the Equality Act.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Sport, Education and Society
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1470-1243
Departments: Academic Departments > Medical & Sport Sciences (MSS) > Sports and Physical Activity
Depositing User: Cathy Devine
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2017 11:09
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 17:00


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