Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. (@DrSportPsych) is a Senior Lecturer in the area of social and behavioral sciences in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota where she is also the Co-Director of the Tucker Center (@TuckerCenter) for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, and the co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium.
In her research article, titled A Rationale for Encouraging Mothers to Coach Youth Sport, Lavoi explores the problematic lack of gender balance in the youth coaching ranks. To Lavoi, the lack of gender balance in favor of men coaches is problematic because “it sends the wrong message to children and youth about power, gender, and leadership and reinforces the notion that sport is male-dominated, male-run, and male-centred. For children, who are impressionable, seeing mostly men in positions of power in a context that matters a great deal to them, does little to challenge and change the status quo. A lack of women coaches also means girls have few, if any, active female role models, therefore making it less likely that girls will view coaching as a viable and available career pathway.”
In order for the potential of youth sport to be realized for all children, Lavoi urges that “women must be seen in equal numbers in all youth sport roles, including the coach. ”