Netball World Cup; Coaching Gender imbalance




To understand the origin of the gender imbalance in coaching, we have to go back over 100 years to the beginning of the rationalisation of sports. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, many sports had, for the first time, official rules written and governing bodies formed to ensure the adherence to these rules. Many, if not all of the decisions made were made by men and all within the limitations of the cultural attitudes of the time.

A representation of the impact of this rationalisation of sport on the gender balance of coaching is Netball. Played by over 20 million people, the sport is most popular in countries such Australia, New Zealand and the UK where professional leagues exist. It was a sport created by women in the early 1900’s as an adaptation to basketball. This adapted game allowed women to accommodate for the restrictions they had in the way of their clothing (i.e. long skirts, bustle backs, nipped waists and button up shoes) which made dribbling and moving with the basketball almost impossible. ‘Ladies Basketball’ as it was known prior to 1901 had its first governing body formed in 1927, the ’Australia Women’s Basketball Association’, rationalised by women and has since traditionally been dominated by female players, coaches and leadership. A stat collated in 1997 indicated the percentage of male netball players across the Globe was 0.7% of total playing population.

With the sport rationalised by women, it has therefore been played more by women and coached more by women.

This years Netball World Cup sees 75% of teams with a female head coach:

Australia – Lisa Alexander

Barbados – Anna Shepherd

England – Tracey Neville

FIJI – Vicki Wilson

Jamaica – Marvette Anderson

New Zealand – Noeline Taurua

Sam0a – Marcia Hardcastle

Scotland – Gail Parata

Singapore – Natalie Milicich

Sri Lanka – Thilaka Jinadasa

Zimbabwe – Ledwin Dondo




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