by Kari FastingMari Kristin SisjordTrond Svela Sand

Vol. 8 2017, pages 29-47
Published April 18, 2017


Previous studies have shown that there is an underrepresentation of female coaches and a lack of opportunities for women to coach males, particularly at the elite-level. Very few studies, however, have focused on elite-level coaches’ demographics and whether these vary with respect to gender. The aim of this article is to get an overview of the gender distribution of Norwegian national team coaches with respect to different demographic variables, such as age, education and marital status. Furthermore, athletic background, coach education and coaching experience are examined. The results are based on data from an online survey among coaches who in 2012 worked as national team coaches (n=197). The main result is that the female and male coaches seem to be very similar, which is in contrast to the majority of previous research among elite-level female coaches. Another contradiction to previous studies, which mostly consist of qualitative research, is that the present quantitative study is based on a sample of national team coaches from all sports in Norway. Only 14% of the elite-level coaches are women. The explanation for this underrepresentation is discussed with respect to structural barriers that may be particularly relevant for elite-level coaching: sex-typing, stereotyping and homologous reproduction.

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About the Authors

KARI FASTING is a professor emerita at the Department for social and cultural studies at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (NSSS) in Oslo, where she served as the chancellor from 1989 to 1993. She is past president and honorary member of the International Sociology of Sport Association, and a founding member and president of Women’s Sport International (WSI). Her research has been concerned with various aspects related to equality and diversity in sport, with a focus on sexual harassment and abuse.

MARI KRISTIN SISJORD is a professor at the Department for social and cultural studies at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (NSSS) in Oslo. She teaches sport sociology and her research has focused primarily on youth sports, lifestyle sports, gender issues in sport, and sport and media. She has served two periods (1996-2003) on the board of the International Sociology of Sport Association, the latter period as Vice President.

TROND SVELA SAND is a sport sociologist, and works as an independent researcher. For the work on the current paper he has been affiliated with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. He has broad experiences with research with a gender perspective and has among others worked with subjects such as coaching, leadership, and sexual harassment and abuse in sport. Other fields of experience are volunteering in sport, masculinities, and gender issues in the military.