Gender equality policies in National Governing Bodies: An oxymoron or a vehicle for change

Document Type

Journal Article


Meyer & Meyer Sport


Community Services, Education and Social Sciences


Education, Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies




This article was originally published as: Shaw, S., & Penney, D. (2003). Gender equity policies in national governing bodies: An oxymoron or a vehicle for change?. European Sport Management Quarterly, 3(2), 78-102. Original available here


This paper critiques the development and implementation of gender equity policies in National Governing Bodies in English sport and the influence of Sport England in this process. The discourses that underpin gender equity policies are examined from a socio‐critical perspective, utilising a power‐relations framework and drawing upon data from 35 interviews and documentary research conducted within three National Governing Bodies in England. Analysis and discussion address five issues central to the development of gender equity as ‘policy’ and ‘practice’: the influence of Sport England; individuals’ views regarding Sport England's involvement in the creation and development of gender equity policies; policies as ‘funding fools'; tensions regarding their implementation; and the perceived futility of gender equity policies. In the light of the findings, alternatives to current dominant discourses are suggested with reference to the work of Rao, Stuart and Kelleher (1999). Improved communication and organisational reflexivity are identified as two strategies that organisations could employ in improving the construction and implementation of gender equity policies.




Link to publisher version (DOI)