NEW YORK — An increasing number of younger women are choosing to engage in athletic competition with men, according to a sports survey released Wednesday, and most women "disagree that participation in sports diminishes femininity."
The survey also says:
--Athletic women now appear to participate in co-educational sports-fitness activities at least as frequently as they do single-sex activities.
--Young girls who play mostly with boys or mixed gender groups are much more likely to sustain a lifelong interest in sports.
--Playmate activities, not parents, exert the greatest direct influence on the sports interest of young girls.
The survey was commissioned by the Miller Brewing Co. in cooperation with the Women's Sports Foundation. Eight-page questionnaires were sent at random to 7,000 members of the foundation, all of whom subscribe to Women's Sports and Fitness Magazine. There were 1,682 replies, a 24% response rate.
Of those who responded, 71% participated in varsity athletic competition at the high school level, 54% at the college level.
The report indicates that "athletic women under the age of 25 are clearly more comfortable participating in sports with men than is the previous generation," according to a release accompanying the survey.