Analysing gender dynamics in sport governance: A regimes-based approach

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Journal Article
Sport Management Review, 2013, 16 (4), pp. 498 - 513
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This paper explores gender dynamics in sport governance with reference to boards of National Sport Organisations (NSOs) in Australia. It is based on a recent study, underpinned by governance and gender theory. Central is the notion of a gender regime, which is characterised by four interwoven dimensions: production, power, emotional and symbolic relations. When applied to governance dynamics in sport boards, this concept permits identification of how gender works. The study involved an audit of 56 NSOs and in-depth interviews with board directors and chief executive officers (n = 26; 9 women and 17 men) from five NSOs. This paper reports on the results of three NSOs. The data suggest that directors participation in sport governance was not uniform in terms of gender dynamics. Three gender regimes were identified: masculine hegemony, masculine hegemony in transition and gender mainstreaming in process. Only the latter provided significant opportunities for gender equality in governance while the former two imposed significant constraints. Central to the regime associated with gender equal governance was a combination of presence of women on the board, the occupation of influential board roles by women, active support of women directors by influential men on the board and a commitment to equality in governance as equal participation by both men and women.
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