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Guest Writer: Savannah on Female's in Coaching

Savannah is a 21-year-old, recent college graduate with a degree in Kinesiology and a minor in coaching. She has interned as a men's basketball manger, created work out programs for D1 athletes and teams and coached Track and Field. She was a competitive dancer, equestrian and track and field athlete. She is also my beloved older daughter!


When thinking about coaches in the sport world, men clearly dominate the field. Only about 33% of all head coaches in the US are female, and only about 6% of them are involved in pro men’s sports. Although in recent years, there has been a growth for female athletes, but not for female coaches. Female coaches have seen to become segmented at about 10% of accredited coaches. It is seen around the world in many studies that women in coaching are underrepresented through gender gaps by the number (Jowett, S., Gosai, J., & Slade, K. 2022). Some of these issues have been researched for quite some time and one reason for such under-representation was that “female coaches face fewer opportunities, unequal gendered relations, poor working conditions and sexism” (Jowett, S., Gosai, J., & Slade, K. 2022).

There are a couple themes we had learned over the semester in my ethic course that related to the minority of female coaches. Female coaches can experience inequality in their workforce due to most coaches being males. In male athletics, male coaches are usually chosen first. There is also a larger population of male athletics at every level of professionalism, meaning more male coaches were being looked at to hire. Females have as many opportunities to advance their coaching education as much as males do. Female coaches are also being considered for more male athletic dominated sports.

What this issue in coaching more represents is the topic of intersectionality (complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups). Women in sports often face systematic gender biases. The field of sports is known as a male-dominated area and females get easily overlooked. Sports organizations tend to lack policies that support the hiring of diverse staff. Sports also tend to lack the support of families, responsibilities, and giving continuing opportunities for growth and advance in sports. In the coaching profession, women need equal opportunities and experiences.

Another theme that can relate to this issue is structural violence. Structural violence is when social structures or institutions harm people by preventing basic needs. In the world of sports, coaches are usually neglected of needs like travel, having time for family, and other responsibilities. The sports organizations tend to show a bit more “violence” to women due to sports being more male dominated. Even a woman of color in the coaching profession has an even harder time especially during the hiring process. Women sports are just know becoming more popular but there are still acts of inequality even still.

One of the things I think was an important theme to mention is community. Community can be super important for the coaching profession. With a good community within sports, it can allow for better opportunities for coaches and athletes. In the coaching profession, women can face many challenges. Not only are there gender stereotypes but limited opportunities, a lack of representation, unequal resources, life-work imbalances, discrimination and harassment, and a lack of mentorship and support. Challenging the gender stereotypes and biases in the coaching profession can help women feel more included and advice in the sports world.

The underrepresentation of women in the coaching profession does not directly violate the coaching code of ethics but a lot of their code of ethics include respect to an individual and the well-being of others. The "lack of women" issue in the sports world could be seen as a problem with the systematic errors like stereotypes and biases. In the world of sports, they want to lead individuals to more opportunities, achieve their full potential, and bring in diversity. That includes the coaches as well, not just the athletes. This issue can be viewed as inconsistent ideals of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all individuals.

As a female coach myself, I can directly see this issue. Even as a manager or helper of a sport, they overlooked my abilities, left more responsibilities to me, and I had to provide proper attire for myself. I’ve had more positive experiences as well and see more females reaching for higher positions in the sports world, and not only in just female sports but in men's teams too. The code of ethics for coaching is still a work in progress but I do agree with all it has to say. My job as a coach is to help individuals live up to their full potential in their respected sport. With that comes respect for them, protecting their well-being, and providing my knowledge to them.

There are still many issues that sport organizations run into besides gender stereotypes. This is just an issue that I felt more personally affected by. Gender stereotypes, building relationships, and such are all still very prominent in sports which is why I think it’s important to mention. Overall female coaches should be given more opportunities to expand their own knowledge as well as services to help provide for the individual, so they can commit to their teachings. Female coaches are a minority, but they still should never be overlooked in a male dominated profession.

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