Contestation, disruption and legitimization in women’s rugby league

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sport in Society, 2020, 23, (2), pp. 315-344
Issue Date:
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Women’s professional team sport leagues have experienced a dramatic increase, yet research exploring the employment conditions and the perspectives the players involved is relatively sparse. The commencement of an inaugural rugby league competition for women in Australia and New Zealand provided a unique research opportunity to explore physical, sociocultural and organizational conditions and requirements of women athletes, and to identify inclusive management strategies and policies. Forty-nine perspective players for the professional competition were interviewed about their views on the transition of the women’s game from amateur to professional status and the associated management considerations. Two aggregate themes emerged from the interview data analysis: Gender identity and Institutional practice. The interview findings, together with an analysis of other women’s professional team sport enterprise agreements, informed decision making about the league’s size, duration and individual contract inclusions. Further implications for practice and future research are discussed.
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