Vive la difference –: perspectives on the challenges of being a woman in high-level sport

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional


This chapter describes some of the challenges for women working in elite sport. It illustrates the complexity of the situation that women in high-level positions and/or working in a traditionally male field need to navigate. Gender stereotypes are generalisations about the attributes of men and women. Quick and unconscious judgements based on gender stereotypes lead to gender bias in situations where women take a position perceived as more suitable for men, often to the detriment of their career progress. Prescriptive gender stereotypes indicate how women and men should behave. Both stereotypes can complicate women’s career progress. The female stereotype prescribes emotionally sensitive and caring behaviour, while radiating confidence and dominance are regarded as appropriate behaviours for men but not women. To work effectively and be successful, however, women in high-level functions and/or in traditionally male fields, such as elite sport, must engage in behaviours inconsistent with the prescriptive female stereotype.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Elite Sport Performance
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-29030-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • elite athletes
  • woman
  • challenges
  • stereotypes


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