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The influence of paternal co-participation on girls’ participation in surfing, mountain biking, and skateboarding in regional Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 19:34 authored by Meredith NashMeredith Nash, Robyn MooreRobyn Moore
In 2021, surfing and skateboarding are scheduled to join mountain-biking as Olympic sports for the first time, a classification that comes with requirements related to sex/gender equity. Yet, these sports, and action sports generally, continue to be male dominated as questions of performance and risk are framed around boys, men, and masculinities. This qualitative study explored the facilitators of 27 Australian girls’ participation in surfing, mountain biking and skateboarding. This article focuses on the value of paternal co-participation, which was notable in interviews with girls who surf or mountain bike. In particular, we examine the complexity of the role and influence of fathers in girls’ participation. Reflecting their position in action sports, men often shape how girls access these sports and develop their skills. This points to the importance of men and fathers in facilitating girls’ participation in action sports, and possibly broader physical activity behaviours. However, we argue that merely facilitating their daughters’ participation without addressing the experiences of women without male ‘patrons’ in action sports reinscribes male dominance rather than improving gender equity. This study contributes to established work that aims to inform policies and strategies to encourage greater participation of girls and women in action sports.


Publication title

Leisure Studies






School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

United Kingdom

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Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

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Expanding knowledge in human society

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