I was a guest on the Premier Hold Fast podcast with OLY David Plummer from Preimier Sport Psychology. We talk about sport leadership, team culture, moral exemplar coaches and more!
A couple years ago I did a podcast for John O’Sullivan of Changing the Game Project about youth sport, sport parent behavior research, and how to help parents be better on the sidelines. Take a listen!
5:00 When she became interested in issues for Women in Sport Leadership?
8:00 Why is there a decline in women in sport leadership?
15:00 What would it take to get more women coaching sports?
21:00 Why does Nicole think kids are quitting sport?
28:00 Nicole explains “background anger” and how it affects children
35:00 What is Kid Speak?
48:00 Winning and Character Development are not mutually exclusive
In December I was invited to present “Letting the Data Tell the Story About Women Coaches” at the first-ever BREAKTHROUGH SUMMIT FOR WOMEN IN SPORT, hosted in WeCOACH and Hudl.
See my talk and all the other speakers here.
This week the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport released a new report : 2018 Tucker Center Research Report, Developing Physically Active Girls: A Multidisciplinary Evidence-based Approach.
The report includes eleven chapters written by leading multidisciplinary scholars. Evidence-based chapters include psychological, sociological, and physiological dimensions of girls’ physical activity participation, as well as chapters on sports medicine and the influence of mass media of girls’ health and well-being. Because “girls” are not a singular monolithic group, chapters focus on girls’ intersectional identities and include invisible, erased, and underserved populations such as immigrant girls, girls of color, girls who identify as lesbian, transgender and queer/questioning, and girls with cognitive and physical impairments. The report ends with a Best Practices chapter and a Positive Model for Developing Physically Active Girls to guide thought, program development, interventions and research.
To read and download the full report, Executive Summary or the Positive Model click here.
The second piece I wrote for swimswam.com about the false narratives and barriers facing women coaches can be found here.
In the piece I write, “The lack of women coaches is not the problem, it is a reflection of a problem. That problem is a culture that does not value and support women.”
The first piece outlined 8 Reasons Why Women Coaches Matter. If you think women coaches don’t face barriers, please read the comments on this blog and the piece that started it all, which was about data on lack of women head swimming and diving coaches at the collegiate level.
In my research I have interviewed Athletic Directors (ADs) on their best practices in recruiting, hiring and retaining women coaches. [to read the full report, click here.] Nearly all of them stated they want to hire “the best” for an open position. The best person, the best fit, the best qualified, the best (i.e., a winner, successful, track record of success), the best of the best! ADs are competitive people, and rightly so! “The best” is part of their everyday language, and not being the best means your job may be on the line.
However, what is not readily apparent in “the best” narrative is the underlying gender bias and gender stereotypes that affect how leadership is valued, perceived, and evaluated.
Stereotypes and gender bias are inherent in constructing and reinforcing what a real leader ‘looks like’ and ‘does.’ For example, what it means and has meant historically “to coach”—being assertive and in control, aggressive, ambitious, confident, competitive, powerful, dominant, forceful, self-reliant and individualistic—are characteristics typically associated with men and masculinity. This identity of the ideal/best coach is reinforced by society and the media, where coaches are constructed and held up as heroes and the male coach is a symbol and ultimate expression of the idealized form of masculine character.
Therefore when ADs state they want “the best” coach, this statement automatically privileges and favors male coaches over women, whether intended or not. However, “the best” might also be a coded way ADs can talk about hiring women without
putting themselves or the institution at risk for gender-based discrimination litigation by male applicants.
Clearly, a complex set of conscious and unconscious inferences are contained within persistent and common “hire the best” narratives among college Athletics Directors. The pervasive “best” narrative illuminates the need for bias training and awareness that bias has a potential impact on the perception, recruitment, evaluation and hiring (and firing) of women coaches.
I recently sat down the WCCO TV’s David McCoy to discuss the Women in College Coaching Report Card, false narratives about women coaches, and why women coaches matter. View our discussion here. View my 5 part blog series on false narratives here.
Happy International Women’s Day 2018!
This is the fifth part of my Changing the Narrative for Women Sport Coaches blog series.
This one will be brief! I often hear that “women don’t want to move their families” as a reason why there are fewer female head coaches. To my knowledge, and I will stand corrected, there is NO empirical data to support this assumption.
Are women less likely to move their families than men? Maybe. Maybe Not.
This is why it matters. When this narrative is repeated over and over, it becomes truth and then in turn it begins to affect how women are evaluated, perceived and interacted with in the recruiting and hiring process.
- Will an AD spend as much time and effort recruiting a mother-coach if he/she believes the woman will not, or doesn’t want to, move her family?
- Will an AD interact differently with a male candidate who is perceived to be more eager to move than a female candidate (because the “not moving” narrative is taken as fact)?
- Does an AD not actively recruit ALL parent-coaches (mothers AND fathers), compared to coaches without children?
There are many questions, and very little data about this particular narrative. While data is collected, I hope that it will be put to rest until it is proven or refuted.