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Critical Masses and Gender Diversity in Voluntary Sport Leadership: The Role of Economic and Social State-Level Factors

Lara Lesch (), Shannon Kerwin (), Tim F. Thormann () and Pamela Wicker ()
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Lara Lesch: Department of Sports Science, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
Shannon Kerwin: Department of Sport Management, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
Tim F. Thormann: Department of Sports Science, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
Pamela Wicker: Department of Sports Science, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany

Sustainability, 2022, vol. 14, issue 10, 1-18

Abstract: Gender equality in leadership positions is important for sport organizations to achieve economic and social sustainability. Based on a multi-level framework, this study examines spillover effects from economic and social state-level factors in sport organizations’ environment on critical masses of women on their boards (in terms of share and numbers) and board gender diversity (reflected by different types of boards). Data of national and regional sport governing bodies in Germany were collected ( n = 930), with variables capturing organizational characteristics (e.g., board composition) and economic and social factors at the state level. The results of regression analyses show that women’s attainment in tertiary education increases the likelihood of a critical mass of at least 30% women on the board, and a higher divorce rate increases the likelihood of a critical mass of three women on the board. Sport organizations in states with a higher gender wage gap are more likely to have balanced boards, indicating that volunteering might be a substitute to paid work. The findings suggest that the presence of women in sport leadership is affected by economic and social conditions in the organizations’ geographical surroundings and that spillover effects occur from the state level to the organizational level.

Keywords: leisure-time sports; critical mass; board gender diversity; sport governance; multi-level model; macro-economic factors (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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