Leanne is a Professor of Sport Management and the Director of the Centre for Social Justice in Sport and Society within the Carnegie School of Sport. Her research addresses gender equity and inclusion within sports leadership (including coaching and governance).
The research programme Leanne leads within the Carnegie School of Sport is focused on advancing our understanding of gender equity, diversity, and inclusion within sport workforces and how such issues link to organisational processes and cultures. Underpinned by critical social research, the programme of work has significantly contributed to an improvement in national and international understanding of, and approaches to: women's experiences of sport and coaching; the link between sport organisational culture and diversity and inclusion (D&I); the influence of gender on coach-athlete relationships; the intersections of identity for the impact on coaches' lives and experiences (for example, how gender intersects with race and ethnicity); and sport organisational approaches to building inclusive leadership workforces.
Leanne has written for academic and practitioner textbooks, written educational resources for coaches, and has published widely in academic journals related to sport and social issues.
She has led national and international research projects and acted as academic expert and consultant for research funded by international and national sport councils, governing bodies and federations, and charities. Leanne utilises such research as evidence for impactful knowledge exchange and public engagement activities. This includes leading the delivery of programmes towards supporting women to enhance their experience of sports coaching as a credible and valuable profession, as well as acting as expert advisor to sport organisations to support them in creating diverse leadership and coaching workforces.
Industry Expertise (4)
Sport - Professional
Sport - Amateur
Areas of Expertise (10)
Qualitative Research Methods
Sport Organisational Culture and Change
Gender Equity in Sport and Coaching
Equity and Diversity
Critical Feminist Sociology
University of Bath: Ph.D., Coaching Sociology 2007
Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd: PGCE, Further and Higher Education 2004
Cardiff Metropolitan University: B.S., Sport and Physical Education 2003
Event Appearances (5)
How can we redress the gender balance in sports coaching?
Women in Sport & Exercise Annual Conference Virtual
Improving gender equity in high-performance sport coaching
English Institute of Sport and UK Sport CPD training session Virtual
The role of men in advancing gender equity in European football governance
UEFA Research Conference Virtual
Building inclusive football coaching workforces
FARE Football People & Football Discrimination Symposium University of Bolton
Understanding the impact of organisational culture in the context of recruiting women coaches
Coaching Association of Finland, Coach like a Women conference Helsinki, Finland
Gendered microaggressions towards the “only” women coaches in high-performance sportSports Coaching Review
2022 For women, being underrepresented in high-performance sport coaching is endemic. They also often report a sense of minoritisation, and incidents of discrimination. The purpose of the present study was to understand, using a gender-microaggressions perspective, how sexism manifests for women in elite coaching who report to be the “only” woman in their context, how they respond to such experiences, and how such discrimination is enabled.
Elite women coaches negotiating and resisting power in footballGender, Work & Organization
2021 While football remains mostly a sport associated with men and national identity, it has also become a popular sport for women and girls in Western countries. Despite this success, however, the coaching of football remains a strongly male dominated occupation. In this paper, we explored how 10 elite women coaches of national football teams negotiated and resisted the entanglement of techniques of biopower, sovereign and disciplinary power within the sport.
Job stressors, strain, and psychological wellbeing among women sports coachesInternational Journal of Sports Science & Coaching
2020 Despite a globally recognised need for inclusive diversity among sport workforces, women are underrepresented in the inherently stressful profession of sports coaching. This study aimed to work with women sports coaches to answer the following research questions: 1) What demographic and contract-related factors are associated with job stressors? 2) What associations exist between job stressors, strain, and psychological wellbeing (PWB) at work?
Assessing Psychosocial Work Environments of Coaches in Spain and Their Relationships With Mental Health, Behavioral-Stress Symptoms, and BurnoutSport Psychologist
2020 The purpose of this study was to assess the psychosocial work environment (PWE) of a sample of coaches in comparison with the reference values of the Spanish general workforce, as well as to explore the relationship between PWE and mental health, behavioral-stress symptoms, and burnout.
Mind the gap: the presence of capital and power in the female athlete–male -coach relationship within elite rowingSports Coaching Review
2019 We draw on Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, capital and field, and Foucault’s understanding of power, to examine how gender as a relation of power is exercised in the female-athlete, male-coach relationship. We conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with nine international male coaches and female athletes. Our findings reveal a hierarchy within rowing and a perpetuation of the gendering of coaching creating a habitus which positions female athletes below male athletes.