This research worked with young boys and their families to understand what influences their attitudes towards girls in sport, and then learn from this to help boys be more supportive of girls and women in sport. They used a mixed methods approach consisting of a survey of over 2000 parents of children aged 5-11, alongside qualitative ethnography with twenty families and their sons (aged 6-11) – these families covered a range of backgrounds, locations, ethnicities and socioeconomic groups.

They found that boys negative behaviours and attitudes towards girls in sport, are influenced by gender stereotyping and traditional masculine ideals. The following topics are explored: gender stereotype of a ‘typical boy’ is reinforced by parents, sport is wrapped up with masculinity and status, sporting environments reinforce stereotypes and inequality, role models and visibility. Recommendations include the following: recognise and challenge limiting stereotypes, redefine the value of sport for boys and girls, help boys to become allies not opponents, create gender-equal sporting environments, and increase the visibility of girls and women in sport. There are useful resources on the Women in Sport website. 

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4 months ago