Isenberg Professor Examines Obstacles to Women's Leadership in Sports

October 31, 2012

Prof. Janet FinkProf. Janet FinkOn October 24, Janet Fink, an associate professor with Isenberg's Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, gave the Fall 2012 Distinguished Lecture at the University of Minnesota's Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport. Fink's lecture examined the continuing dearth of women leaders in men and women's sports administration-from coaches to athletic directors. In recent years, women, she noted, have lost ground as women's sports programs have been appropriated by traditional men's programs.


In sports, the iconic glass ceiling metaphor comes up short, Fink continued. Better to envision a labyrinth, with its challenging complexity and simultaneous roadblocks on micro-, meso-, and macro- levels, she advised.  Micro-level obstacles, she remarked, include negative self-attributions like underestimating one's personal worth. Meso-level factors include organizational cultural phenomena like "old boy" networks. Macro-level issues comprise generalized gender biases in the workplace and society, like the pervasive notion that men make more effective leaders than women.


To counter those biases, we can learn from activists who have fought successful battles against homophobia and racism in sports, emphasized Fink. We must be vigilant, she added, in marshaling advocacy groups that monitor and publicize sexist behavior in sports while celebrating inclusivity. 


More information about this lecture.


View lecture video. (Prof. Fink is the second speaker)