Gender Stereotyping Sports

Effects on Childhood Development

Skills Differences

Sex differences in motor skills start at a young age. "The year between a child's second and third birthdays has been identified as the time during which sex stereotypes for toys, clothing, tools, household objects, games and sports, and work are acquired" (Fagot). This continue to develop into middle childhood. "Girls have an edge in fine-motor skills" (Berk). Examples would include handwriting and drawing along hopping and skipping which involve gross-motor skills that rely on balance and agility. Boys have the advantage in everything else such as throwing and kicking.

But that isn't enough

The genetic advantage in muscle mass in school aged boys is not enough to explain the gross-motor difference. "Social environment plays a larger role" (Berk). There is research that shows parents hold higher standards for boys than girls in athletic training. This message given to children gives a negative reaction to girls. Girls are less positive about playing sports and their ability. Boys however, felt they had to play sports for their parents.

Affects on the Children

Attitudes affect children's self-confidence and behaviors. Girl's self-confidence is lower because they see themselves by having less talent so they spent less time playing sports. Boy's self-confidence is higher because they participate in many sports. Girls also view the boy's advantage as unfair. They do not believe the coaches are spending equal time with them as they do with the boys.


Education parents about the differences in physical capabilities between girls and boys will help. Promoting girls ability to play sports and be athletic will help increase self confidence and participation. Training young children can help them to devote their time to sports and increase performance. During middle childhood, children are beginning to realize their talents and focus on them. So it is important to encourage children, especially girls, to participate in sports.


Fagot, Beverly I., Mary D. Leinbach, and Cherie O'Boyle. "Gender Labeling, Gender Stereotyping, And Parenting Behaviors." Developmental Psychology28.2 (1992): 225-230. PsycINFO. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.

Berk, Laura E. "Sex Differences." Development Through the Lifespan (2010): 295-296.