Is It Worth the Price? Women’s Involvement in Leadership and Coaching in Sport Organizations in Norway

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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The Norwegian Confederation of Sports, the non-profit umbrella organization for all organized sports in Norway, has gradually accepted women’s demands for equal opportunities and full integration at all levels. The situation for women in sports politics and coaching today is characterized by male dominance as well as high drop-out rates and recruiting problems among women.

The aim of the investigation, as basis for this article, was to give women’s experiences within elected posts and coaching a public voice and elaborate why women hesitate to involve themselves or drop-out after a short period of time. The following questions are outlined and discussed:

- What motivates women to take up elected posts and coaching? - What experiences do women have after holding such posts and roles? - What problems and challenges seem to be difficult to face and handle?

The analytical perspective was inspired by the feminist critique of organizations as gender-neutral arenas, and Bourdieu’s analysis of dominance and power within social fields. The empirical material consisted of questionnaire data and data from a search conference. The sample consisted of women holding elected posts, as well as, female coaches.

Based upon the results women as a group within male domains were not empowered to raise and articulate interests and needs as women. The respondents reported an awareness of barriers, role conflicts and dilemmas, but lacked most often the ability to initiate collective emancipatory changes. The established male-dominated practices were seen as selfevident and natural. Many women chose the strategy of exit as the solution to their situation, because the cost of promoting change outweighed the benefits.

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