Air Ball: Missing the Net on Female Elite Athletes’ Reproductive Health

Shehani Jayawickrama, Georgia Loutrianakis, Kathleen Vincent, Lisa Campo-Engelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We argue the dearth of research on elite ciswomen athletes’ reproductive health is because athletics remains associated with masculinity, and female athletes therefore do not adhere to normative femininity and motherhood. In choosing a masculine career, it is assumed that elite athletes will reject other feminine activities, such as motherhood. We further argue that female athletes are considered especially ineligible for motherhood because their career choice violates normative motherhood by engaging in “risky” behavior (i.e., physical activity). By continuing with their career, athletes are accused of being “bad” mothers by not adhering to the gender norm of mothers as self-sacrificing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • assisted reproductive technologies
  • elite athletes
  • gender norms
  • motherhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Philosophy


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