Israeli women in the Olympic and Maccabiah games, 1932-1992: Patterns of stability and change

Michael Bar-Eli, Adara Spiegel

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Abstract

This research is an initial attempt to sociologically investigate women in Israeli elite sport. Theoretically, this work is based mainly on the segmentation of the labor market approach. The frequency, percentages and proportion of Israeli male to female participation in both the Olympic and Maccabiah Games held between 1932 and 1992 have shown considerable stability (about 3-4 men per 1 woman), with the Olympic Games having a somewhat lower female participation rate. Women were found to participate in an increasingly growing number of types of sports over time. However, Duncan and Duncan's (1955) index of dissimilarity revealed high/average and stable levels of differentiation by gender in the Olympic and Maccabiah Games, respectively. In addition, Oppenheimer's (1970) measures revealed extremely high and stable concentration of women in separate "female" types of sports, especially in the Olympic Games. On all estimates, indices and measures, Olympic and Maccabiah Games tend to become more similar over time. It can be concluded that a stable (occupational) differentation of women exists in Israeli elite sport, which is high in the Olympic games and average to high in the Maccabiah Games. Professionalism seems to play a major role in explaining these tendencies, which is generally in line with the segmentation of the labor market approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-403
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1996

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