Employment Patterns of Female Coaches in Men's Athletics: Tokenism and Marginalization as Reflections of Occupational Sex-Segregation

Mary Jo Kane, Jane Marie Stangl

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Although a number of studies have investigated the decline of female coaches in women's athletics since Title IX, few have examined the impact of this landmark legislation on females employed in men's athletics. Therefore, this paper investigated the employment patterns of female coaches in men's interscholastic sports within the historical context of Title IX. Two theoretical constructs from occupational sex- segregation literature--tokenism and marginalization--were used to address three major concerns. First, if and when women served as head coaches, would they do so in a “token” capacity? This was determined by employing Kanter's (1977) theoretical model of group composition by gender ratio (representation). Second, were women “marginalized” by being significantly more likely to coach less prestigious men's sports? Finally, would these employment patterns be influenced by Title IX? The data set consisted of a random sample of 1,062 public high schools in Ohio for three Title IX time periods. Results from Chi-square and Analysis of Variance procedures indicated that: 1) even though there was a significant increase in the overall number of female head coaches since Title IX, women continued to represent less than two percent of all head coaching positions, and thus served as a “token” influence; and 2) in two of the three Title IX time periods, women were significantly more likely to coach the less prestigious sports, and thus were marginalized within meri's interscholastic athletics. These findings are discussed in terms of how tokenism and marginalization serve as mechanisms of social/institutional control that reproduce male dominance in sport. © 1991, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-41
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Sport and Social Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


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