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A constant discussion I face at the moment is around should Governing Bodies of sport run qualification programmes for women only? There are pros and cons to this and I would really welcome your thoughts. Is this more of an issue in more gendered sports (eg: Rugby)
The question is not women only qualifications, but women only sessions. The advantage of this woman feel more comfortable and within gender group for safety. I remember when starting my coaching and supporting my teaching I went on a rugby course and futsal course. I was the only female on both course. I felt a little uncomfortable as did the men on the rugby when doing tackling drills etc, for the futsal I couldn't join in the games element as the men where very "physical" so women only session allow women to take part fully in the session, and not have to sit out etc.
The advantage of mixed session is that as a coach you may have to work and coach males, and so gets you in that environment.
so it would depend on the course, I know in The Sussex FA run as part of project 500 (more women and more coach) a women only session, and it's very successful..
I did the same with basketball, I was the only female coach on the level 2, I had never played basketball unlike the men. when it came to dinner and the course stopped I found myself sat in the corner whilst the men played basketball. I was little embarrassing but didn't want to go on court due to the level of play. I'm only 5ft 4 and most of the men was well over 6ft I was afraid of getting injured or stamped on.
Maybe an all womens course could have been the answer.
I think it's highly dependent on the sport that you are in. For example, football and rugby would most likely benefit from an all-female qualification course - simply because you could participate and learn the basics in a safer environment with physically similar people. It may also make some trainees feel more comfortable with trying and learning something new.
With my sport, figure skating, it wouldn't really matter as it's an individual sport.
I think sometimes being on a mixed qualification has its advantages as sometimes coaching ideas and approaches can differ between the genders so ideas can be bounced off each other and more gained.
I think it really depends on the individual, however I would absolutely hate to attend a course that prescribed who could attend based on their gender, age, race, shape, etc if the outcome of the course was a coaching qualification to coach any gender, age, race, etc.
I think male coaches have got as much to learn from female coaches and vice versa. It should be the job of the tutors to ensure all particpants are given equal time and treated equally. It is the tutor's job to ensure there is equality on the course.
If I was becoming a rugby coach, I would not want special treatment, I mean, you would probably end up coaching boys as well as girls so why would you learn to coach in a female only environment? It just doesn't make sense to me.
In netball, men are the minority coaches, and I have seen them ignored, sidelined and discriminately against on courses. It works both ways, but if netball started putting on men only coaching courses, I would not like it.
In summary, I don't like discrimination (positive as well as negative), so in my opinion we should not run sporting qualifications for women or men only. If you think you are being sidelines or ignored, then talk to the tutor, but remember the most important traits of a coach is the ability to listen, observe and analyse - you can't do that if you are one talking, so there is nothing wrong with going on a course and not being the loudest!
I couldn't agree more with your comments. I had the exact discussion with a group of coaching leads today in the North West.
Gaining a qualification with a diverse group of coaches is the best environment to learn in, provided that situation is managed appropriately by the tutor (unfortunately many NGB tutors are also male!). They should, not only have the technical knowledge but the emotional intellegance to recognise the differing levels of support reuired for each individual.
The work around gender equality in coaching goes far wider than just having more female coaches in the workforce. Its about fixing the system, not the women!!!
I think in gymnastics we have quite a good balance. We have male and female tutors and all courses are mixed. I agree there is such a benefit to learning from a mixed group of people from different backgrounds. I tutor a little bit for British Gymnastics at the moment (I am hoping to do more in the future) and my courses have always been mixed. I think there would be a different dynamic if a group of learners were to be predominantly male or female and I may well need to adapt my delivery to suit the needs.
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