Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Via the Title IX Blog, perhaps a book to add to your library:
In her new (2009) book, Gender Games: Why Women Coaches Are Losing the Field, author Christina Cruz examines gendered dynamic of college athletic departments and the tensions that it creates for female coaches. These tensions, which Cruz labels "micro-competitions" likely explain why the percentage of coaches who are female has diminished from over 90% to 43% in the last thirty years.

In presenting the narratives of five successful female coaches, Cruz uncovers numerous examples of micro-competitions, many of which the coach is powerless to win, that affect coaches' self-efficacy in aspects of the job outside of the role of coaching itself. The narratives provide examples of coaches negotiating between on-court and off-court personas, their efforts to satisfy athletic department and cultural expectations that are often in conflict, and the toll of working with and for unsupportive or hostile male colleagues. An overall finding is that "male-centered environments cause the coaches to pit themselves against patriarchal forces that promote male power over women and perpetuate preexisting gender regimes. This atmosphere leaves these female coaches vulnerable to self deprecation."