Gendered microaggressions towards the “only” women coaches in high-performance sport

Leanne Norman, Richard A.C. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


For women, being underrepresented in high-performance sport coaching is endemic. They also often report a sense of minoritisation, and incidents of discrimination. The purpose of the present study was to understand, using a gender-microaggressions perspective, how sexism manifests for women in elite coaching who report to be the “only” woman in their context, how they respond to such experiences, and how such discrimination is enabled. Through interviews with nine high-performance female head coaches globally, the prevalent type of microaggressions experienced were gendered microinvalidations. But findings also demonstrate that these women attempted to resist sexism. Nevertheless, being the “only” women restricted their resistance because they could not form collective power that led to transformations in the coaching culture. More action is required to build critical, evenly distributed masses of women across the coaching pathway. Future research must also address the features of organisational contexts that provide fertile grounds for exclusionary cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 21
Number of pages21
JournalSports Coaching Review
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Sexism
  • equity
  • organisational culture
  • sports coaching


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