Sport and Leisure History Seminar 2019-20 #1

‘Women’s Sport Governance: Merger-Takeovers in the 1990s and beyond

Monday October 7th 2019

It’s a real pleasure to be one of the convenors for the British Society of Sports History sponsored Sport & Leisure History seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research. And this term we have a diverse range of speakers and subjects to pique the interest of the historically inclined.

This year we’ve tweaked the format of the seminar to make it snappier! Papers will be 30-40 minutes long with the remaining part of the hour available for questions from the floor. We’ll also be starting later, at 6 o’clock, to make it easier for those who work regular hours to get along to the venue.

The first paper of the new academic year will be given by Dr Raf Nicholson of Bournemouth University who will be talking about the wave of mergers between the ruling bodies of UK sports that has taken place since the 1990s. This paper is drawn from a major study that Raf is carrying out that builds on her established research on women’s cricket history to apply an analytical framework across women’s sport in the UK. To whet your appetite here’s Raf’s abstract …

In 1993 the Sports Council’s new policy document, Women and Sport, recommended that all national governing bodies of sport ‘establish a single governing body’. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, almost all women’s sports that were administered separately to their male counterparts therefore ‘merged’ with the men’s governing body: squash in 1989, football and athletics in 1992, lacrosse in 1996, and hockey and cricket in 1998. In practice, these mergers became ‘takeovers’, whereby female administrators were forced to cede governance of their sports to male-run bodies whose priority and focus remained men’s sport. 

Work has been conducted on the impact of this process on individual sports, with cricket being a particular focus (Velija et al 2012, Nicholson 2019). Internationally, studies of similar amalgamations between men’s and women’s sporting organisations have found that such processes increase male control at the expense of female autonomy (Cox and Thompson 2003, Lovett and Lowry 1995, Stronach and Adair 2009). However, there has been no study which considers the impact of the Sports Council’s policy on the UK sporting landscape as a whole. 

This paper begins that process, reviewing the mergers in the context of various sports and asking the key question: How does a government policy of forced integration of women’s and men’s sport affect those sports in practice?

We have now finalised our programme of speakers for the 2019-20 academic year as follows:-

4th Nov 2019 Helena Byrne (British Library)

Where are we now? A Review of Research on the History of Women’s Soccer in Ireland 

2nd Dec 2019 Dr. Kay Schiller (Durham University)

The Fastest Jew in Germany: Alex Nathan 1906-1971

27th Jan 2020 Dr. Veronica Smith (University of York)

Sport, Masculinity and Class: Stained Glass at Victoria Baths, Manchester

24th Feb 2020 Dr. Liam O’Callaghan (Liverpool Hope University)

Title tba

23rd Mar 2020 Allister Webb (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Why History Matters in Contemporary Sporting Events: A Case Study of the Bidding Process for International Cricket in England and Wales

27th Apr 2020 Geoff Swallow (Manchester Metropolitan University)

The Man Who Wasn’t There: The Jarvis-Nuttal ‘Match’ of 1901 as a Space of Modernity

8th June 2020 Dr Clare Tebbutt (Trinity College, Dublin)

‘That Man-Woman Problem’: Grappling with Questions of Sex Differentiation in 1930s Women’s Sport, and their Resonance Today

This is only the one of a number of series of stimulating talks to be held at the IHR across a range of disciplines. For up to date details of seminars forthcoming in 2019 go to the IHR’s website. The Sport & Leisure talks take place in the John S Cohen Room on the second floor – doors open from 17:45 and the seminar will start promptly at 18.00. I hope to see you there.

Academia History London Sport

f1insburyparker View All →

Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).

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