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Women's empowerment and Olympic success
Date:5/13/2014

m after claim that it does, so we decided it was worth finding out if it's true. Fortunately, the results turned out to be clear cut. No matter how we conducted the analyses or what measures of success we used, women's empowerment predicted Olympic success."

Besides finding support for the connection between gender equality and Olympic success, there were some unanticipated findings. One was that greater gender equality was also associated with greater success for men, even after controlling other success predictors, such as population and wealth. "The benefit to male athletes was a surprise, and we don't really understand why this occurs," said Lowen. "One idea is that societies that bring women into the workforce generate wealth in ways that are not captured with traditional wealth measures, such as gross domestic product. These societies may afford both men and women greater opportunities for recreational and personal pursuits, including elite athletic training and competition."

Another unexpected finding was that there was no "Title IX effect" for U.S. women. The well-known federal law prohibits sexual discrimination in educational opportunities, including sports, and has been credited with the success of U.S. women in international competition. Robert Deaner, associate professor of psychology at Grand Valley State and co-author of the study, said: "Clearly, U.S. women have been remarkably successful in soccer, basketball and many other sports. But once we incorporated other key predictors of Olympic success population, wealth, and women's empowerment we found little evidence that U.S. women are exceptional in comparison to women from other countries or even U.S. men. This doesn't mean Title IX hasn't been important for U.S. women instead it suggests that other countries must have their own means of supporting elite women's sports."

The authors stressed there are still outstanding questions, including the direction of causality. "We
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Contact: Dottie Barnes
barnesdo@gvsu.edu
616-331-2953
Grand Valley State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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