Title: Behind the stripes: female football officials' experiences

Authors: Heidi Nordstrom; Stacy Warner; John C. Barnes

Addresses: Department of Sport and Physical Education, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, USA; School of Education, 502 E. Boone Ave., AD Box 25, Spokane, WA 99258, USA ' Department of Kinesiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA; 173 Minges Coliseum, Greenville, NC 27858, USA ' Department of Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA; Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences, Johnson Center/MSC 04-2610, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA

Abstract: This study focused on the work-related experiences of eight female American football officials. The purpose was to gain a holistic perspective of women's experiences working in the male-dominated career of sport officiating. Previous literature has examined sports officials in regards to retention, recruitment, and safety, but relatively little research has focused specifically on female football officials. Using a phenomenological approach, a series of in-depth interviews were conducted with each participant. After thoroughly analysing the data using open, axial, and selective coding methods, the following four themes emerged: 1) gendered experiences; 2) sense of community; 3) mentoring; 4) passion for officiating and football. The findings lend practical insight that can be used to assist officiating associations with their recruitment and retention, as well as add to the literature on gender equity in sport and on females working in male-dominated careers.

Keywords: sports officiating; American football; gender roles; male domination; gender equity; women referees; female referees; gendered experiences; sense of community; mentoring; passion; female football officials; women football officials; work-related experiences; phenomenology; recruitment; retention; gender equality; male-dominated careers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2016.077934

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2016 Vol.16 No.3/4/5/6, pp.259 - 279

Received: 13 Jul 2015
Accepted: 25 Mar 2016

Published online: 22 Jul 2016 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article