Women and sport leadership: perceptions of Malawi women educated in sport business leadership
Traditional beliefs, cultural expectations and attitudes regarding the position of women in society still exist in the sub-Saharan African patrimonial society. Gender inequality in Africa’s regional and national sport organisations and governance structures is a reality and empirical work on women in sport leadership is lacking. This qualitative investigation is embedded in social constructivism as conceptual framework, which attempted to explore the perceived effect of a sport leadership education program in Malawi. The effect of leadership education is contextually perceived and although the challenge to integrate African leadership and traditional western leadership models is recognised, it was not the aim of this study. The study aimed to understand the leadership experiences of females in a Malawi sport context and sought to reveal if sport leadership development initiatives like this are expected to be merely opportunities to transfer knowledge or if it could affect the self-worth and “voice” of female sport leaders in Malawi. Findings suggest that completing the sport leadership education programme positively affected not only individual self-worth but also the collective voice of female sport leaders. It is proposed that similar courses are expanded and introduced to other sub-Saharan African countries and to research the perceived effect.
Key words: Sport leadership education; Gender inequality; Sub-Saharan Africa.