Shaping attitudes: Exposure to women coaches and officials influences children and parent perceptions

While women are underrepresented as coaches and officials in community sport, new research highlights the important influence women in these leadership roles have on children.

Research by Victoria University found that increased representation and visibility of women in coaching and officiating roles in community sport can challenge attitudes and positively influence unconscious gender bias of children associating men in these roles.

The key findings reveal:

-   previous experience with a woman as a coach positively influenced children’s belief that women can be great coaches.

-   parental attitudes greatly influence their children’s attitudes

-   satisfaction levels of girls with having a woman as a coach and/or official was higher than for boys.

Funded through the Change Our Game Research Grants program, this research examined attitudes towards women in coaching and officiating roles amongst children (aged 4 – 17 years) involved in community sport, and their parents in Victoria.

A total of 75 children and their parents/carers shared their experiences of women as coaches and officials across eight main sports: Australian rules football, basketball, swimming, athletics, cricket, netball, rugby union, and soccer.

Out of the children who provided insights, 96% had exposure to men as coaches and only 65% had exposure to women as coaches.

This research highlights the value of children experiencing women as coaches and officials in community sport, to shape positive attitudes and greater satisfaction with women in these leadership roles.

Click here to read the full research summary.

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