“A Strong Man Is Direct and a Direct Woman Is a Bitch”: Gendered Discourses and Their Influence on Employment Roles in Sport Organizations

in Journal of Sport Management
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Despite increasing numbers of women in senior sport management positions over the past 30 years, men still remain dominant in these roles, indicating a level of gender inequity within sport management. It is often assumed within sport organizations that women are well-matched for lower level management roles, whereas men are more suited to senior management roles. In order to understand perceptions held about women's and men's abilities related to sport management, it is necessary to understand and then analyze discourses, or dominant forms of knowledge, that influence various employment roles in sport organizations. After analyzing organizational documents and transcripts from interviews with 35 employees from three national sport organizations in England, it was found that senior management roles were heavily dominated by discourses of masculinity that are linked to men and are highly valued in sport organizations. In contrast, women and discourses of femininity are associated with employment roles that are undervalued within organizations. There is, however, the potential for resistance to these discourses on a number of levels and this is discussed with relation to one organization's commitment to change “taken for granted” assumptions about gendered employment roles in sport management.

S. Shaw is with the Department of Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand; L. Hoeber is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada.

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