“I Was Banging My Head Against a Brick Wall”: Exclusionary Power and the Gendering of Sport Organizations

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Ruth Sibson Edith Cowan University

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The under-representation of women in sport management has increasingly been recognized by government and nongovernment organizations, and there has been some attempt to redress the imbalance. Research has indicated, however, that the gendering of sport organizations is not simply a numbers’ game. The purpose of this study was to analyze the exercise of exclusionary power as an aspect of gender relations within a six member volunteer Board of Directors of an Australian local, grass-roots sport organization. Data were gathered using semistructured interviews, participant observation and documentary evidence over a 15-month period. This study identified that, although numerical underrepresentation of men or women on this Board was not an issue for either sex, exclusionary power was exercised in a number of overlapping ways which ultimately limited the participation, input, and influence of its female members.

Sibson is with the School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

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