Using intersectionality theory as a lens, the present study investigated the organizational experiences of African American women athletic directors. We use data collected from face-to-face interviews with ten African American women athletic directors of NCAA Division I, II, and III U.S. intercollegiate athletic departments. Findings of our investigation reveal that the intersection of their race and gender identities, in conjunction with societal and occupational stereotypes, resulted in many of them working in environments where they faced constant challenges to their identity and authority in response to social and occupational stereotypes, misperceptions concerning their leadership roles, and perceptions that their hiring is more a result of their demographics than of their qualifications. We highlight the importance of recognizing how stereotypes intersect to produce differential experiences, and we seek to increase awareness of how implicit stereotyping influences the thoughts and behaviors of African American women athletic directors and also the individuals interacting with them. Our findings have implications for the well-being, recruitment and retention of African American women in leadership positions.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 18, 2017
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