Gender equality in sport governance: Boards of the Finnish National Governing Bodies of sport

Tutkimustuotos: AbstraktiScientific


The underrepresentation of women leaders in sport is a global challenge also including countries, which are rated as top countries in work-life gender equality, as Finland. Even if the number of women leaders in general has increased in Finland, the sport sector lacks behind. The higher the position in sport is, the less there are women (Aalto-Nevalainen, 2018). Women constitute 28% of the board members of National Governing Bodies (NGB) and 18% of the chairs of the boards are women (Särkivuori et al., 2020). The NGBs act as umbrella organizations for all grassroot and sport club activities in Finland and have power to steer and organize sport activities that affect people at all ages and genders. Therefore, it is important that the access into the power positions in these organizations is not limited only to certain groups of people.Regardless of the growing body of literature on gender equality in sport management, the present literature has often focused on specific country contexts, especially the USA (see e.g. Burton & Leberman, 2017 for a review). These contexts have fundamental structural and cultural differences compared to the Nordic countries. The aim of this research is to examine the state of gender equality between men and women in Finnish sport governance and the influence of gender on views about the operations of boards. The research questions are: how does gender affect views about the transparency and operations of board work and what kind of differences men and women have in competence related to experience and education?The theoretical foundations emerge from previous literature on gendered sport organizations. The main data consist of a survey of 197 NGBs board members conducted 29.10-15.11.2020. The most nominal data of the survey is analysed mainly with regression and correlation analyses, crosstabulation, x2-test and average tests.This study contributes to the literatures of governance, sport, and gender by extending the current literature to a novel, hitherto nearly unexplored context of Finnish NGBs. Furthermore, it discusses in-depth the views men and women have on the openness and operations of the boards of NGBs and thus increases our understanding of the impact of gender on board work. The study contributes to practice by generating new knowledge about gender equality and the meaning of gender in sport governance. This knowledge can be used as a base for actions on promoting gender equality in sport both on practical level in sport organizations but also on state level to improve knowledge-based decision making of sport policy and governance.ReferencesAalto-Nevalainen, P. (2018). A comparative study of women and men managers’ career success in the sports sector. [Vertaileva tutkimus nais- ja miesjohtajien uramenestyksestä liikunta-alalla]. Doctoral dissertation, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.Burton, L., & Leberman, S. (2017). Women in sport leadership: Research and practice for change. Taylor & Francis.Särkivuori, J., Lämsä, J., Vihinen, T. & Lehtonen, K. (2020). Gender equality in Finnish national and regional sport organizations. [Tasa-arvo valtakunnallisissa ja alueellisissa liikuntajärjestöissä]. Research Summary, Likes & Kihu. Jyväskylä: Finland.
TilaJulkaistu - 22 huhtik. 2021
OKM-julkaisutyyppiEi OKM-tyyppiä
TapahtumaThe Annual IRSPM 2021 Conference - Virtual conference
Kesto: 20 huhtik. 202123 huhtik. 2021


ConferenceThe Annual IRSPM 2021 Conference


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