Images and representations of women associated with the 2016 African Women Cup of Nations (AFCON) held in Cameroon

Authors: Frinwei Achu*, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, Urmilla Bob, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Topics: Africa
Keywords: Gender, Images, Sport, Africa
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Soccer remains Africa’s ‘beautiful game’ and is the most dominant sport on the continent. Sports and gender representation reflect notions of masculinity and femininity which have been underscored by several researchers with widely held views that ‘girls don’t play soccer’. However, limited research exists that assess sport and how women are perceived and perceive themselves in the context of a women’s sporting event. This research examines gender constructs associated with soccer, specifically in relation to the African Women Cup of Nations (AFCON) that was hosted in Cameroon in 2016. Together with exploring the voices and experiences of women attendees at the games, media images associated with the Cup are assessed from a gender perspective. Specifically, findings from key informant interviews unpack how the women’s AFCON was perceived and experienced in a country (Cameroon) where the male soccer team is hailed as one of the best in Africa. Adopting a qualitative approach permits the examination of how images and perceptions are constructed in relation to a traditionally male-dominated sporting events. Additionally, a key aspect examined is whether these challenge or reinforce masculinity and gender stereotypes in soccer and sport are perceived more generally. The powerful role that the media plays in framing images is also integrated in the analysis.

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