There are gender gaps in many occupations—but you’d think coaching women’s sports wouldn’t be one of them.
As it turns out, it is. As of 2014, just 43 percent of women’s intercollegiate sports teams were coached by women, according to a study by Acosta-Carpenter. That’s down from over 90 percent in 1972.
As the study points out, this can have significant negative consequences for female students.
“Access to female role models in positions of decision making and leadership is particularly important for females,” the study says, because women “have fewer such role models in their lives than do their male counterparts.”
How did this happen? Ironically, one major reason is Title IX, a law designed to end gender discrimination in education, including in school sports. That law took effect in 1972, right before the numbers started dropping.
Unfortunately, Title IX only protects students, not coaches, so when additional jobs for coaches were created to match those for men’s teams, the usual sexist societal trends did their thing and most of the jobs went to men.