Rethinking the ‘aspirations’ of Chinese girls within and beyond Health and Physical Education and physical activity in Greater Western Sydney

Bonnie Pang, Joanne Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to explore young Chinese girls’ aspirations and ideal environments for engagement in Health and Physical Education (HPE) and physical activity (PA) in Greater Western Sydney. Interviews are used to elicit these girls’ perceptions of their future and ideal environments in relation to HPEPA. Their data offer insights into key influences regarding what is thinkable, desirable and achievable in their HPEPA environments. Results showed dimensions of environments, such as social and pedagogical aspects, that are conducive to these girls’ aspirations in HPEPA (e.g. social support from parents, and functional built environment for HPE). This paper aligns with a strengths-based approach to understanding and recognising young Chinese girls’ perceived aspirations within their socio-cultural environment. In doing so, we discuss how feminism and femininity are positioned from a Chinese perspective that may provide alternative views to a post-feminist panorama in promoting advancement of all young girls in HPEPA. Results invite us to take into account some of the girls’ ambivalence towards being an ‘autonomous’ and ‘dependent’ modern Chinese young girl. This paper calls for a rethinking of how aspirations that shape young people’s future in HPEPA in much of the contemporary Western world are conceptualised in academic research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-434
Number of pages14
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number5
Early online date9 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018


  • aspirations
  • Bourdieu
  • Chinese girls
  • feminism and femininity
  • Greater Western Sydney
  • Health and Physical Education
  • physical activity
  • strengths-based approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Education

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