University of Zagreb

Faculty of Kinesiology

International Scientific Conference The role of sport in social life

The role of sport in social life: Women, sport, and social changes

Zagreb, 15 and 16 December 2023, Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences and University of Zagreb Faculty of Kinesiology

Dear colleagues,

The Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences and the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Kinesiology hereby invite you to an international scientific conference—The role of sport in social life: Women, sport, and social changes to be held in Zagreb on 15 and 16 December 2023.

Sport is an inexhaustible social phenomenon and an integral part of the daily life of a large number of people around the world. It is a proclamation of the dominant ideas and values of many societies, and is integrated into the main spheres of social life. It is also similar to other social institutions in that it has its own organizations and culture, as well as a strong impact on the lives of many members of society. Despite the widely accepted sports myth that views sports and its actors exclusively as good, it is important to critically examine sports as a complex social phenomenon, because knowledge of sports is in fact knowledge of society (Elias and Dunning, 1986).

Gender relations are an extremely important part of the development and dynamics of relations in sports. Gender-related forms of inclusion and exclusion have their patriarchal origins in pre-modern societies. Therefore, in the study of sports in the social sciences and humanities, gender relations impose themselves as a key research topic. Sport is a social institution in which men occupy higher positions of power and influence than women. There is no excessive willingness to change this structure of social relations, and changes thus take place quite slowly.

Early modern civil societies were patriarchal, and as such reluctant to allow women to participate in sports. The road to women's inclusion in sport and recognition of their rights has been a long one. There have been numerous obstacles and a great deal of resistance to improvements in the social status of women, both in sport and in society in general.  The history of women in sport for most of the twentieth century consisted of individual and collective efforts to overcome exclusion and discrimination and to persistently seek spaces where women could take part in sport. Until the 1960s, there was widely accepted belief in myths that aggressive, vigorous sports would harm the female body and its reproductive role (Coakley, 2020). Opportunities to participate in certain sports have increased significantly in societies where women's rights are respected, but access to sports venues is difficult to ensure in cases where male participants are already competing for access to sports venues and social resources. Although steps have been taken towards gender equality, sport is still burdened with numerous problems.

The 2012 London Olympics can be symbolically considered the beginning of a new era, as women were represented for the first time in all sports, as well as in all delegations of the participating countries. Nevertheless, there are still numerous inequalities in the economic position and media treatment of women in modern sports as compared to men. For example, sports programmes in traditional media rarely cover women's sports. Just four percent of all TV sports broadcasts are dedicated to women's competitions (UNESCO, 2018). Despite numerous positive changes in society, sport remains closely linked to patriarchal values. Gender relations are still a problem in modern sports, and many LGBTIQ issues have been in the margins for a long time. Sociology, psychology, kinesiology, political science, law, economics, history, ethnology, philosophy, and related sciences are faced with examining all these issues.

We invite scientists to submit summaries of presentations on a wide range of topics and issues in the relationship between gender and sport by 22 October 2023, focusing on:

  • Studying the past and understanding the present of modern sport
  • Women in sports throughout history
  • History of gender inequality in sports
  • Gender and port: the role of theory and research
  • Gender, participation and sport
  • Children and youth sport
  • Gender and violence in sport
  • LGBTIQ+ experiences 
  • Gender and parasports
  • Discrimination, harassment, and abuse in sport
  • Economic inequality and sport
  • Gender, management, coaching, and refereeing
  • Social class and patterns of participation in sport
  • Economic aspects of a career in sport
  • Gender and the professional careers of former athletes
  • Sport, economics, and marketing
  • Organization of professional sports
  • Media and sport
  • Woman in sports media
  • Politics and sport
  • The nation and power issues in sport
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Gender, sport, and ideology
  • Youth sport, physical activity, and physical education
  • Sport and the education system
  • Sport and Religion
  • Resources and conditions of participation in sports
  • Health and sport
  • Other issues related to sex, gender, and sport

Keynote speaker: Dunja Antunovic: Gender Representations in Sports Media: Problems and Opportunities for Change. She is an assistant professor of sport sociology at the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota in the United States.

Date and place of the conference:

15 December 2023 (Friday) Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences, Trg Marka Marulića 19, Zagreb, Croatia, and 16 December 2023 (Saturday) University of Zagreb Faculty of Kinesiology, Horvaćanski zavoj 15, Zagreb, Croatia.

Working languages: Croatian and/or English.

The deadline for registry and the submission of abstracts is 22 October 2023.  Abstracts (up to 250 words) in Croatian and/or English should be sent by e-mail to: sport.sociology.conference (at)

All abstracts will be published in the proceedings in on-line format. Authors can participate with a maximum of two papers; they will be notified by e-mail that their abstracts have been accepted by 29 October 2023.

Registration fee: €60 for employed individuals, €30 for students. 

The participation fee includes coffee breaks and snacks.

Money transfer fees must be borne by the participant.

Modes of payment:

University of Zagreb Faculty of Kinesiology

IBAN : HR4524020061100948345,  Erste bank d.d.


Model: HR00 15122023

Purpose: registration fee for sport sociology conference, your name and surname

We urge all participants to send proof of registration fee payment as a PDF via e-mail to: sport.sociology.conference (at)

The deadline for payment is Monday, 20 November 2023. It will not be possible to pay on the site!

For all further details, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail at: sport.sociology.conference (at)

We are looking forward to welcome you in Zagreb!

On behalf of the Organizing and Programme committee,

Sunčica Bartoluci & Marko Mustapić.