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New study to boost representation of women in coaching


A Leeds Beckett University academic will be the key European expert for a new study into gender-specific education schemes for sports coaches and how these can help to boost the representation of women in coaching.

Dr Leanne Norman speaking at the Carnegie Conversations Guest Lecture Series

Dr Leanne Norman, Senior Research Fellow in the Carnegie School of Sport, will work closely with leading research and consultancy company, Ecorys, on the European Council research study into the mapping and analysis of education schemes for coaches from a gender perspective, across Europe. 

Dr Norman’s role will be as key European expert, which will involve identifying and connecting the team to relevant sources, stakeholders and coach education schemes, undertaking consultations with sport stakeholders in the UK and at a European level, carrying out a number of detailed reviews of schemes, and reviewing reporting. 

Dr Norman explained: “While there have been several recommendations and resolutions promoting gender equality in all aspects of sport policy at all levels, women still face barriers when entering both amateur and professional sport. Women tend to be a minority in leadership positions in all sports, at all levels, and across all countries, with the exception of women-only sports. The unequal ratio between men and women is not only seen in executive leadership positions, but also particularly prevalent in coaching. 

“Research shows that there is a severe underrepresentation of female coaches in the sports industry (particularly in team sports). It is estimated that approximately 20-30% of all sports coaches in Europe are women and that executive boards of umbrella sports organisations are 79% made up of men.” 

The specific focus of the study is the role of gender-specific education and training approaches in helping to address the underrepresentation of women in coaching. 

The project will identify existing training and education schemes for coaches in Europe, evaluating their accessibility and training elements, whilst identifying best practices. A final report will be produced in June 2017, with the outcomes feeding into recommendations to the European Commission’s Expert Group on Good Governance and into the work of the Estonian presidency of the EU Council in 2017. 

Dr Leanne Norman is internationally-recognised for her research within the area of gender equality and issues of diversity related to sports coaching, sports leadership, and organisations. Her work is driven towards improving the participation, performance, and leadership pathways for diverse social groups, principally different groups of women. Her work utilises a sociological lens to examine the culture of coaching and sports organisations.

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