Parents’ Involvement in Choosing Extracurricular Sports Activities: A Gendered Perspective from Israel

Orr Levental, Dalit Lev-Arey, Ilan Tamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the multifaceted motivations behind parental decisions to enroll their children in organized sports, with a focus on how these decisions intersect with gender norms and values. Through qualitative interviews with mothers and fathers in Israel, this research uncovers a complex interplay between societal expectations, personal values, and the gender identities of both parents and children. A thematic analysis of the interviews revealed that despite a societal shift towards more gender-neutral perspectives, traditional gender roles persist, particularly in the attitudes of fathers towards the sports participation of their sons. This research identifies a paradox where girls are encouraged to participate in a broader range of sports, including those traditionally viewed as masculine, while boys face more restrictions, particularly against engaging in sports perceived as feminine. Mothers generally exhibit more flexibility in challenging gender norms, suggesting the potential for gradual change in future generations. This study’s findings contribute to the understanding of how parental guidance shapes children’s sports involvement and the perpetuation or challenging of gender norms within this context. Future research could benefit from a broader, more diverse sample and a mixed-methods approach to enhance generalizability and reduce potential biases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • children
  • gender norms
  • parental guidance
  • societal expectations
  • sports participation


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