“The Top is Always Reserved for Men”: Gendering of Leadership Positions in Polish Sports Federations
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The Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Publication date: 2020-12-16
Polish Sociological Review 2020;212(4):497-516
To date, women are under-represented in most positions of authority, including sport leadership, not only in Poland, but also in most countries worldwide. Until recently, there has been no research on gendering of positions within Polish sports federations. The presented analysis employs Acker’s theory of gendered organization (1990, 1992) to explore professional experiences of men and women in positions of sport leadership in Polish national sports federations. The findings, based on 24 in-depth interviews, revealed that gender-based practices maintain gender imbalance in the studied organizations. The studied male leaders demonstrated a significant degree of sexism in their statements and justified gender inequalities by referring to biological essentialism. Further, the assumptions regarding masculinities as associated with leadership positions, liminal gender awareness and gender role stereotyping are the major obstacles faced by women in Polish national sports federations.
The author would like to thank Monika Banach, Suzi Andreis and Andrzej Kostek for their help in conducting the study.
The study was conducted as part of the Step Up Equality project (2019–2021) 603190-EPP-1-2018-1-SE-SPO-SCP financed from funds of the Erasmus+ programme.
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