‘Bend it like Patel’: centring ‘race’, ethnicity and gender in feminist analysis of women’s football in England

Sheila Scraton, Jayne Caudwell, Samantha Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article focuses on the experiences of Black women and one Indian Hindu woman in football in England. The discussions draw on survey and interview research to theorize gender, ‘race’ and ethnicity. The research represents a questionnaire survey of women’s teams and 14 semi-structured in-depth interviews; seven with players and seven with ‘officials’. The survey provides data on players, coaches and managers at women’s football clubs registered with the Football Association (FA) in the North of England. The questionnaire data on ‘race’, ethnicity and gender demonstrate that football’s organizational structures in the region are White and gendered. The interview data highlights the gendered and racialized experiences of women as they begin to play and continue to play football at the club level. What emerges from the interviews is how ‘racial’ difference is constituted for some women footballers. The article analyses the processes that construct gender and ‘race’ as interlocking systems of relationships by using Glenn’s (1999) theoretical framework identifying three processes through which ‘race’ and gender are mutually constituted: representation, micro-interaction and social structure. We raise both theoretical and methodological issues that indicate the need for further rigorous theorizing in the sociology of sport of women’s interwoven experiences of gender, ‘race’ and ethnicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-88
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • football
  • gender/‘race’/ethnicity
  • women


Dive into the research topics of '‘Bend it like Patel’: centring ‘race’, ethnicity and gender in feminist analysis of women’s football in England'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this