Gender Inequality in Sport: Perceptions and Experiences of Generation Z

Hebe Schaillée, Inge Derom, Oskar Solenes, Solveig Straume, Beth Burgess, Vanessa Jones, Gillian Renfree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Research on Generation Z’s (Gen Z) sport education is limited in scope. This study explores Gen Z’s perceptions of gender equity in sport, with a focus on topic areas that warrant attention in sport management higher education courses to increase awareness around gender inequality. This study of Gen Z students across four European countries, including Belgium, Norway, Netherlands and England, was conducted through eight focus groups. The 54 participants, all born after 1995, were enrolled in an (under)graduate sport programme. Through a thematic analysis we identified four distinct, yet inter-related themes, and explored their link to the interacting processes from Acker’s work (1990). Results indicate that intercultural differences exist. Participants demonstrate an awareness of gender inequality in the media and in school sport, while also illustrating how disparities are shaped in school and sport contexts. These findings are encouraging for developing further social transformation, as awareness is a first hurdle to overcome when working towards social change. Awareness around gender inequality could further be increased in higher education by focusing on knowledge gaps found in this study such as the underrepresentation of women in coaching positions or officiating roles, the lower status job roles congruent to traditional gender norms, and the use of quota schemes. The results of this study are relevant for sport and physical education scholars to address and continue challenging traditional gender stereotypes and beliefs as well as foster career and leadership aspirations for the next generation of prospective employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1025
Number of pages15
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2021


  • Gen Z
  • gender equality
  • sport
  • higher education


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