Understanding and redefining the role of men in achieving gender equity in sport leadership
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A common approach to gender balance in governance has been through the creation of women’s groups/commissions and the use of gender targets/quotas. This approach may perpetuate the idea that gender equality is an issue that only affects women and does not explicitly encourage men to be involved in changing a male-dominated governance culture. The purpose of this study was to explore the role men have, and can play in working towards gender equity in sport governance. We focused on two sports and two countries that have announced their support for and engagement with gender balance in governance. We drew on organisational documents and semi-structured interviews with 22 men and 12 women from eight organisations involved in sport governance at the national or international level. Data suggests that male board members primarily focus on creating gender equality. They actively recruit women to fill positions but there is little evidence that they do much to change the context/culture in which that governance takes place. Women argued for more active involvement of men in enabling a transformation towards gender equity, that is, a gender responsive shift in governance culture.
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