Leadership and Gender within the Olympic Fraternity in South Africa

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The IOC assumed the role of promoting women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of both men and women. However little has been done to address the underepresentations of women in its National Olympic Committees(NOC)and left a scope for further ephasis for NOCs and their respective National Federations (NF)to strive to achieve higher levels of equality in their governance structures from whatever base they start. All recent studies have taken on a liberal feminist approach, but a radical and interpretational (cultural studies) analysis of premise of the Olympic core values, practices and messages is needed. The aim of the study is to analyse on the gender ideology, policy, structures and practices of the International Olympic Commitee (IOC) manifested in the leadership and representation of women in its National Olympic Committee and selected National Federations and participation sectors of South Africa. The current involvement of men and women in leadership roles within the International Olympic Committee and the National Olympic Committee of South Africa will be examined as will the National Federations and their respective participation sectors in South Africa. Methods utilized to collect data will include in depth interviews and questionaires at all levels in the South African Olympic Committee and its National Federations. It is therefore envisaged that the evidence gathered in this research will address the gap in literature on South African gender and leadership in the Olympic Fraternity. The analysis of the sporting structures may inform decision-makers of poor governance and social prejudice and inform policy and set targets for monitoring and evaluating success in leadership positions. Gender activists and those with the political clout, as the local Olympic Committee and Federations, may utilise this research to place the envisaged outcomes on their advocacy agenda.


Keywords: Leadership in South Africa, Gender in South Africa, Olympic Fraternity South Africa
Stream: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Pamela Serra

PhD Student, Department of Sport and Movement Studies, University of Johannesburg
Johannesburg, South Africa

Completed MCom(Sport Management) in sport sociology , focussing on gender and media studies. Was accepted to present her masters at the World Congress of Sociology in 2006 in Durban, South Africa. In 2007, was chosen to participate in the International Olympic Academy Post graduate Seminar in Olympia, Greece. Sport fanatic, participates in sport herself in the codes of soccer and hockey. Keeps herself busy with provincial side coaching and selection in hockey. Whilst completing her PhD full time, does some guest lecturing at the University of Johannesburg.

Ref: I08P0289