Occupational Sex Segregation in a Youth Soccer Organization: Females in Positions of Power

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Nicole M. LaVoi University of Minnesota

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Research pertaining to female coaches at the professional, intercollegiate, and interscholastic levels exists, but attention to females in positions of power in youth sport is limited. Given youth sport is an important social institution that affects millions of children and their families, it provides a rich opportunity for creating social change and challenging stereotypical beliefs pertaining to gender and leadership. This study uses the theoretical framework of occupational sex-segregation—specifically tokenism and marginalization (Kanter, 1977a, 1977b)—to examine the representation of females in positions of power (N = 5,683; Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Team Managers) within one Midwestern youth soccer association. Based on the data, female coaches are considered “tokens” within all boys’ teams and at the highest competitive level of girls’ teams, and are marginalized and underrepresented in all positions of power at almost all age groups and competitive levels. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. Associate Director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport School of Kinesiology 203 Cooke Hall 1900 University Ave SE University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455 E-mail: nmlavoi@umn.edu Phone: (612) 626-6055

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