Hoops, nets, and ballots : investigating the relationship between competitive sport socialization and political participation of female candidates

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Coffman, Jeffrey
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Political Science, c2010
Although more women are successfully breaching the social, economic and political barriers that can prevent them from participating as electoral candidates, few women campaign for elected office. A dearth of female candidates may be understandable, given research demonstrating that women tend to avoid competition and competitive environments. Thus, elections – competitive by design – may attract fewer women than men. This thesis posits that the inherent competitiveness of electoral politics may deter women from campaigning for office. However, this work also forwards that competitive sport socialization during adolescence may prepare women for electoral competition. This paper examines the results of a self-administered survey mailed to 449 female candidates for municipal office. The survey investigated candidates’ adolescent experiences in competitive sports and attitudes relating to internal political efficacy. The results appear to demonstrate a strong correlation between competitive sport socialization and either positive or neutral evaluations of political competition.
x, 163 leaves ; 29 cm
Women -- Political activity , Women politicians , Women political candidates , Competition (Psychology) in adolescence , Competition (Psychology) in youth , Female high school athletes , Female middle school athletes , Political participation , Dissertations, Academic