Perceived Barriers to Careers in Sport and Stereotypes toward Women in Sport: Exploring Division I Female College Athletes’ Experiences in Athletic and Educational Settings

Jin Park – Western Illinois University
Antonio S. Williams – Indiana University–Bloomington

While the barriers and challenges women confront in the sport industry have been welldocumented, there is a lack of research on how women who aspire to work in sport perceive those barriers. This study explored how female college athletes perceive the barriers to their future careers in sport as well as how they cope with the barriers through the lens of social cognitive career theory. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine female college athletes participating in NCAA Division I sports and majoring in sport management. Identified themes included exclusive mentorships within the athletic department, gendered experiences in educational settings, gender stereotypes toward women working in sport, and strong willingness to negotiate the barriers. The findings will advance the theoretical knowledge of career development for women in sport and provide beneficial information that practitioners can utilize to mentor and help female college athletes’ effective career development during college years.