One sport, one perspective, one achievement: Gender parity at the Muaythai World Championships, 2018.
Glassey, S. (2020). One sport, one perspective, one achievement: Gender parity at the Muaythai World Championships, 2018. (Thesis, Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance (MHSHP)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14526
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14526
Gender equity has been the focus of research across the sports landscape. Given the ongoing privilege of the masculine male in sports, achieving gender equity is a challenge. This disparity is especially so concerning combat sports, where women, as legitimate participants, is still a struggle. Amongst the scarce research on gender parity and combat sport, there is little focus on the negotiation and achievement towards gender equity in Muaythai. The fact that Muaythai is a sport premised on Thai warriors and their battlefields and that it arises from a culture/country where the subjugation of women continues to exist makes it a fascinating site to examine for progress in gender equity. Significant shifts in participation parity have been achieved for women in Muaythai further renders this sport a fascinating area for inquiry. The question of gender equity achievement in Muaythai is a previously undocumented story, and this question is what drives this thesis. Using a case study methodology, I examine the crucial influencers in the achievement participation parity in Muaythai as an international sport. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with IFMA Management Committee, an autobiographical account of my own experiences as an athlete and committee member, and documents of record from committee meetings, I detail the key enablers identified as being crucial to the achievement of gender parity for participating elite athletes. The results indicate that governing bodies need to take heed of the three critical enablers identified in driving social change to create change in combat sport: One sport, One achievement, One perspective 1. Equitable changes (including changes to uniform, and equality in staging, rules and medalling 2. Transformational leadership 3. The political climate and a global desire for change 4. Participants in this study suggest that combat sports organisations will continue to struggle around gender equity and participation parity unless governing bodies take decisive action. Thus, robust and transformational leadership is needed, while understanding the complexity of the environment in which such endeavours take place. While the key enablers reported in this thesis have been central to Muaythai, this research provides only one example of how to facilitate change and given the limited research on the processes that support gender parity in combat sports limits generalisations across other sports. Instead, this thesis aims to yield some direction for other organisations to take if they desire to enhance female participation.
The University of Waikato
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