Abstract

By the mid 1920s, company-sponsored sport leagues for women were well established in Canadian cities such as London, Ontario, Canada. As both an act of welfarism and convenient brand-identification advertising, London companies such as Kellogg’s, Silverwood Dairy, Smallman & Ingram, and Gorman Eckerts sponsored, and in some cases organized, women’s industrial softball teams for workers from 1923 until 1935. As a part of corporate welfarism, employers viewed team sports as activities that would encourage and develop a sense of cooperation, team spirit, and loyalty among employees—characteristics that employers hoped would transfer to the production line. From the narratives of three women who worked and played for various London companies, I consider the constructions of meaning that shape our understanding of the leisure time pursuits of working women in the city and the meaning it has for them decades later. The narratives and industrial sport experiences of these three women suggest that gender hierarchies and competing (sometimes conflicting) loyalties were at the foundation of how they negotiated belonging to company sports teams, related work and educational opportunities, and the eventual changes in their recreation practices that came with marriage and childbirth.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2155-8455
Print ISSN
0094-1700
Pages
pp. 75-94
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-12
Open Access
No
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