Coaching Opportunities for Women Continue to Decline

Less than 40 percent of the head coaches of elite women’s college-sports programs are women, a new report shows, continuing a decades-long decline that troubles some gender-equity experts.

A handful of big-time programs—including those at Cincinnati, Texas, Miami, and Penn State—received high marks for having a large percentage of female coaches of women’s teams. But just 21 of the 76 programs reviewed had women coaches for at least half of their women’s teams.

The report—which was produced by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and the Alliance of Women Coaches—reviewed programs in five of the most-prominent conferences.

Among the report’s findings:

  • Just 39.6 percent of head coaches of women’s teams in the 2013-14 academic year were women, slightly less than the previous year.
  • The University of Cincinnati had female head coaches on 80 percent of its women’s teams. It was followed by Texas (63.6 percent), Miami (60), and Penn State (60).
  • The institutions with the fewest female coaches of women’s teams were Oklahoma State (12.5 percent), North Carolina State (16.7), Kentucky (16.7), and Arkansas (16.7).

Four decades ago, more than 90 percent of head coaches of women’s teams were women, and the decline since then troubles Judy Sweet, a co-founder of the Alliance of Women Coaches, according to USA Today:

“The wonderful growth in opportunities for girls and women to participate in sports since Title IX became law has led people to believe, mistakenly, that there have also been increased opportunities for women as coaches,” Ms. Sweet said. “Most people are incredulous when we share the current percentage of women coaches and the ongoing downward trend.”

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