Multiple Realities of Women’s Work Experiences in Coaching and Athletic Management

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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This paper is an exploration of the multiple realities of women’s work experiences in coaching and athletic management positions. Eleven women who had previously coached or directed women’s athletics programs were interviewed using a semi-structured approach. Three general categories emerged from the data — Support, Gender Differences, and Change. The work experiences reflect problems the women encountered at work, how organizations can be empowering, and the impact empowered women can have on the social construction of work. Based upon the data, we suggest that the individual search for empowerment takes different forms, yet also acknowledges that systemic changes must take place in order to improve the work environment for women. These findings are significant because they validate women’s experiences and contribute to the understanding of work experiences of those who are underrepresented and often left out of key circles of power and control.

Sue Inglis, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University; Karen E. Danylchuk, School of Kinesiology, The University of Western Ontario; Donna L. Pastore, School of PAES, The Ohio State University.

This paper was presented at the NASSM conference in Buffalo, NY May, 1998. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of our research participants and the funding received from a Labor Studies Grant, McMaster University and The Ohio State University Direct Department Research Support.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Sue Inglis, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W. Hamilton, ON, Canada, L8S 4K1. E-mail:
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