“You only go from what you know”: Gendered Recruitment and Selection Processes in English Sport Governance

Within this paper, I draw upon Bourdieu’s theory of practice to examine the recruitment and selection processes of two English national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport and analyse how they reproduce and/or resist hierarchies of male dominance. I present findings developed through a multi-method qualitative approach of semi-structured interviews with female and male leaders and employees, participant observation, and an analysis of formal documents.  I found that some recruitment and selection processes conserved gender power relations that privilege men and masculinity and continue to align with the habitus and capital of dominant men. Simultaneously, I found examples of resistance to recruitment and selection processes that privilege dominant men and begin to disrupt long-standing patterns of men being recruited onto male-dominated leadership teams. I suggest that existing strategies for change to recruitment and selection processes should be accompanied by organisational structural and cultural change, as well as educational and developmental support for women leaders, to have transformative results and change the context of the existing male-dominated social order.