Surviving rather than thriving : understanding the experiences of women coaches using a theory of gendered social well-being.

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Norman, Leanne ; Rankin-Wright, Alexandra (2018)

In shifting our gaze to the sociological impact of being in the minority, the purpose of this study was to substantiate a model of gendered social well-being to appraise women coaches’ circumstances, experiences and challenges as embedded within the social structures and relations of their profession. This is drawn on in-depth interviews with a sample of head women coaches within the UK. The findings demonstrate that personal lives, relationships, social and family commitments were sidelined by many of the participants in order to meet the expectations of being a (woman) coach. We locate these experiences in the organisational practices of high performance sport which hinder women coaches from having meaningful control over their lives. The complexities of identity are also revealed through the interplay of gender with (dis)ability, age and whiteness as evidence of hegemonic femininity within the coaching profession. Consequently, for many women, coaching is experienced as a ‘developmental dead-end’.
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