Centre for Gender Research

Women's races as a cultural phenomenon: conditions for women's exercising

Sports races for women are popular in Sweden today. Hundreds of thousands of women participate every year. However, there is a lack of qualified ethnographic and historical research on the relevance of these events in the participants lives or in society at large – and what makes them so appealing. This project contributes to the knowledge about women s physical exercising, sports races in general and women-only races in particular, from a Swedish context, and links this to an international, interdisciplinary and intersectional discussion about the relevance of sports for equality, culture, and society.

The project aims to analyze sports races for women as a cultural phenomenon. What is a women-only race? Why, how and when did this phenomenon emerge? How does it change over time? What do these races tell us about our society and on the conditions for women s physical exercising? How do women experience these races and how do they talk about their experiences?

The study includes four races: Tjejvasan, Tjejvättern, Tjejmilen and Vårruset. The project has two parts: an ethnographic study of women-only races today, based on fieldwork and a call for written stories, and a historically oriented study, based on archive materials. We also make some international comparisons. The project provides a unique opportunity to explore the development over time in the perception of gender and sports, gender equality, culture and society.

Contact:
Karin S. Lindelöf (PI)
Annie Woube