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Race and Gender Constraints in SA Road Running Author(s): Zubeda Paruk and Cheryl de la Rey Source: Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity, No. 17, Recreation and Leisure (1993), pp. 25-28 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Agenda Feminist Media Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4065517 Accessed: 02-03-2017 04:49 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digita
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    Race and Gender Constraints in SA Road RunningAuthor(s): Zubeda Paruk and Cheryl de la ReySource: Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity,  No. 17, Recreation and Leisure(1993), pp. 25-28Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Agenda Feminist MediaStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4065517Accessed: 02-03-2017 04:49 UTC   JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusteddigital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information aboutJSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available athttp://about.jstor.org/terms Agenda Feminist Media, Taylor & Francis, Ltd.  are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve andextend access to Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity  This content downloaded from 141.166.39.62 on Thu, 02 Mar 2017 04:49:26 UTCAll use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms   in brief .  Zubeda Paruk  and  Cheryl de la Rey  RACE ANd GENdER CONSTRAINTS IN SA ROAd RUNNINq  Women's running is a rapidly  growing sport in South Africa. Since the inception in 1979 of a  women-only race in Durban, the number of participants has  increased steadily with a record  number of approximately 3 200  entrants in a 1992 ten kilometer race. While this trend continues,  the number of women runners  relative to men remains small.  Moreover, the growth in the  participation of women has been  racially uneven, with white women  far outnumbering black women. In  the most recent ten kilometers  women road race in Durban, only  46 of a total of 1 720 finishers were  black1 women. Since the removal of  apartheid legislation in running, the  participation of black men has  increased dramatically. Black  women's participation has not  shown a similar trend.  Very few studies have investigated  the social-psychological issues  associated with women runners. In  the South African literature the  most comprehensive book on running, by Noakes (1985), includes merely one chapter which deals  with women and children with only  physiological and medical aspects being discussed. In popular  magazines like SA Runner the  majority of articles tend to be descriptive with little analytic  insight.  The information in this article is  based on two studies conducted  during 1992. The first was a survey of women runners without regard to  race. Following this, eight black  women runners were interviewed to  explore specific issues experienced  by this group. The findings showed  that factors such as race, gender  and culture combine in complex  ways to influence the recreational and sporting opportunities of South  African women.  Specific needs of women  The organisation of running as a  sport is still male-dominated and this has implications for women's  participation. The way in which  races are organised does not cater  for the specific needs of women. Some problems identified were that  no child care facilities are available  during organised runs and not  enough toilets are provided,  particularly on longer runs. Several  respondents also expressed  Race and gender in S A road runnng Agenda 25 This content downloaded from 141.166.39.62 on Thu, 02 Mar 2017 04:49:26 UTCAll use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms   in rief   dissatisfaction with the inequality in acknowledgement and incentives for  female as compared with male  runners. The lack of availability of running gear designed especially for  women was also a source of  dissatisfaction.  Personal safety while training was  the most frequent concern  expressed by women runners. Only  12 percent of the sample said that  they always ran alone. While all women were concerned about their  safety, black women living in  townships faced the additional  constraint of higher levels of crime  and political violence.  Fewer black women runners  Difficulties in finding a suitable  place to train may partially explain the relatively small number of black women runners; however, the  women who were interviewed  suggested that the attitudes of the wider black community was the  main constraint. A frequently  expressed view is illustrated in the  following comment: They (blacks)  say running is a sportfor men and whites . The participants noted that in the black community running was seen as being part of a white  lifestyle. Moreover, they said that  fitness was seen as a masculine  attribute and many black people  think if a woman runs she will  become masculine and less of a  woman. It appears ironical that  while running is perceived as part of  a white lifestyle, it is seen as an  acceptable activity for black men.  This dual perception of running as  a sport for 'men and whites'  highlights the way in which gender  and race intertwine to constrain  black South African women's  leisure activities. Some comments  suggested that the activity of  running minimises the traditional  passive role of women: Ifeel more  independent and in control of  myself' and Men recognise you as a  strong woman .  It is interesting to note from the  findings that pressures to remain  within the traditional feminine role  came from women as well as men. Female members of the black  community, for example, were  reported to have made comments which accused the runners of not  fulfilling their domestic duties and  of trying to attract the attention of  males. Even within the family it was  the mothers who were often most  disapproving of the participants'  running.  Pressures to remain within the  traditional feminine role came  from women as well as men Another contributing factor for the  difference in the number of white  women compared with black women who run, was the exposure of  whites to sports from an early age  and the lack of sports facilities in  26 Agenda Race and gender in S A road runnng This content downloaded from 141.166.39.62 on Thu, 02 Mar 2017 04:49:26 UTCAll use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms   - I 1.... - - : ..;; . - - I.. .. - . .. - - . .  - I .::;:::..,-, . . .. , ..:' - , ' :: ::::. .1, .;.. :;- ;:;. ::: ;:: ;::; :.,;: ,.::: , .. : .. . . : .. ::. ::... ..:. ::. . ;; :: ;:: :::, :::,.,.. , ... . ...,- : .,- ; ; - - : : . . . Z ..- I....- ... - .- . .... :: ; ;:: ; ]:] ::::: :;;::: :- ::: :: -;::::: ::::- :;;:: ::::::: - .;.l:-.w -: ::::: ; . .: - .. .. ...: : .7. : - :: ;:::, :::: :::::] :::: .:.:.:. : I......, . ...I- I- .. ....... : - ...: :..., , I, - .... '. . , :. . .. ... . .:::. . ::, ., : .:::..  in brief 1 : :.  the townships. White women were  also seen to be more weight and body conscious than black women.  Moreover, all the black women who were interviewed said that there  were cultural taboos against their  wearing shorts. At face value the  traditional dress of southern African  women reveals at least as much as  the typical running gear worn in hot  climates. The explanation was that  the negative attitude only applied to  the exposure of the body while  wearing western-type clothing. It is  interesting that this view applies  exclusively to women since black  male runners do not seem to face  this kind of censure from their  communities.  Concerns about sex role issues  were expressed by women runners regardless of race. These included  the influence of running on family  commitment, child care and  domestic chores. Often this meant  difficulty finding time to train and  problems with child care during  organised races. Other issues which  were specific to all women as  runners were anxieties about the  effects of running on menstruation,  fertility, breast size and appearance  (eg wrinkles).  Relationships affected  The majority of women surveyed  noted that running had affected the  significant relationships in their lives. The main trend was that where the significant other was also  a runner, the relationship was  enhanced eg an increase in shared time, closeness and understanding.  When the change was negative, the  significant other was most likely to  be a non-runner. Examples of  negative effects were jealousy over  friendships with male runners and resentment about the time spent  running.  Similarly, the interviews revealed  that other family members'  attitudes varied depending on  whether the individual family  member participated in sport. For  example, mothers tended to disapprove of their daughters'  running, except in one case where  the mother participated in aerobics.  Examples of negative effects were  jealousy over friendships with male runners and resentment about the  time spent running  Spouses/significant others also  seemed to play a role in the women's motivation to begin  running. Some women said that  they saw other women running  when they accompanied their  husbands to road races. Others  took up running so that they could  share in an activity that consumed  a great deal of their husbands' time.  Advantages of running  Commonly perceived advantages of  being a woman runner were, in  order of frequency, that it has  positive physical consequences,  psychological benefits such as  increased self-esteem, a sense of achievement and reduction of depression, and it provides an  opportunity for recreation and for  making friends. The most frequent  type of comment was that, as a  result of running, respondents felt  more relaxed, more confident and  r . n S . : : ..A . I .::.. . I, g e. -. r d : . ru i g A d.a ........ . .--- :. . - .:. ro a runn g Age ...nd 2 . . 7. - l.'.:, -  Race and gender in SA road runnng Agenda 27 This content downloaded from 141.166.39.62 on Thu, 02 Mar 2017 04:49:26 UTCAll use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
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