Girls’ and women’s football provides an unusual but nonetheless cardinal space for the exploration of business success and advancement. Girls’ and women’s football continues to be viewed in mainstream culture as a ‘different’ and ‘other’ game (Dunn and Welford, 2015[i]) that operates somewhere outside of the proper version of boys’ and men’s football. It is this complex and fragmented cultural space that provides the backdrop for my talk on 17th October.
This exploration, as part of the LIBS Connect series, will focus on socio-cultural aspects girls’ and women’s football with a view to understand how these insights can be utilised within the world of business. The talk will concentrate on the five key areas of authenticity, cultural change, identity, support and defiance. In the first instance the need to retain and reflect credibility will be discussed and applied to business settings. Cultural change will be addressed in relation to the female-athlete paradox that exists within women’s sport, a term used to explain disconnect between societal stereotypes of ideal womanhood versus the need for successful athletes to exhibit traditional male characteristics (strength, aggression, competitiveness). This directly complicates the quest for authenticity in sport which continues to be contested due to the disjointed discussions around what it means to be a women and be a successful athlete. It is not just sport that suffers from these challenges but also business and my talk aims to unpack the placement of ‘paradox’ within business and culture with a view to understand how businesses can reach success in an inclusive and equal manner.
Furthermore, identity will be examined and the meaning of sport to those who play will be critically investigated and applied to employee identity and self-making. I endeavour to discuss my research around ‘salient’ and ‘contingent’ selves and will apply this conceptual framework to employee identity management and change. Support will be further explored in the context of success and progression and lastly I will make connections between the importance of sport and business spaces as platforms for change and resistance. I look forward to seeing you at the event on 17th October, Lincoln City FC.
Dr Hanya Pielichaty, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Sports Business Management
[i] Dunn, C. and Welford, J. (2015) Football and the FA Women’s Super League: structure, governance and impact. London: Palgrave.