Women in the weighing room; gendered discourses of exclusion in English flat racing

Laura-Jayne Roberts, Malcolm Maclean

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This exploratory study examines the existence and effects of barriers to women's participation in the flat racing industry, one of the only major professional sports in which men and women compete against each other on equal terms. Six participants, three men and three women with at least three years experience working in the flat racing industry, were recruited for the study. Data were derived from semi-structured individual interviews and analysed using discourse analysis techniques. The results from this study suggest that women face discrimination in horse racing on account of a number of factors, the three main perceived reasons are due to their physical strength, body shape, and the tradition and history embedded within the industry. Although there is a shift starting to occur by which more women are coming through in flat racing, this is slow. Research participants consider that women may find these barriers and perceptions held by others difficult to overcome, limiting efforts to achieve equality in this sport. Given the exploratory character of the study, conclusions are tentative and we propose a number of areas for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-334
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


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