Match-fixing: Women’s Experiences Studying and Working in Sport Management in Aotearoa New Zealand
This study investigates women’s experiences while studying and working in sport management in Aotearoa / New Zealand (NZ), through an intergenerational analysis of the expectations and perceptions of female students, graduates and practitioners. In NZ, women are significantly underrepresented in middle and senior sport management. While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) exerts pressure for NZ sport organisations to report on gender formal equality and representation at a board level, limited information exists about women at the various levels of sport management or as students of sport management. Feminist theorising underpins the study and assumes NZ is gendered at all levels of society. The study is overlaid by a hermeneutic methodological approach to explore, capture, analyse and interpret the data from the women’s lived experiences. This framework of feminist theorising and hermeneutic methodology enabled the researcher to reveal, interpret and understand the meanings of the taken-for-granted everyday experiences of women studying and working in sport management in their diverse historical, social and cultural settings. Women experience gender discrimination as embedded in a setting strongly influenced by patriarchal hegemonic practices, in both NZ’s wider society and within the sporting industry. Advocates for substantive equality and access for women in all areas of sport management have led to calls for a critical spotlight to be placed on the deeply entrenched, visible and invisible structures and practices which continue to marginalise groups of women. Listening to the voices of 11 students, 13 graduates and 12 practitioners in focus groups and semi-structured interviews, and examining their perceptions of studying and working in NZ sport management, reveals an industry which is highly gendered, complex, and multi-dimensional. The analysis of the women’s experiences provides a unique vantage point from which to consider the multifaceted nature of how gender is enacted within NZ society, particularly sport, and a multi-level analytic structure captures these at the macro (societal), meso (organisational) and micro (individual)-levels. Understanding how these women interpreted their experiences helps explain the paucity of women in sport management roles and the barriers of gender formal equality which limit their involvement. Women’s minority presence within sport management continues to limit women having a voice in shaping sport and the delivery of sport in NZ. Sport has a transformative power to contest sexism within sport and wider society. The contribution of this thesis is to bring together the voices and perspectives of students, graduates and practitioners in order to comprehend how women perceive working and having ongoing employment in sport management. Understanding their gendered experiences and presenting their voices allows for the critiquing of policies, structures and practices in NZ’s sports sector; enables women to realise they are not alone in their experiences and has the potential to deepen sport management teaching practice. The women revealed inequitable, historic cultures, structures and practices such as the lack of women mentors, the ‘old boys’ club’, long and inflexible hours, male appointment boards, and exclusion, all of which are barriers to women working and progressing in NZ sport management. The women called for support to help balance their sport management jobs and family care responsibilities. The study is of particular importance to those with an interest in women studying sport management and the decisions those women make about navigating a career in this sector.