In Birrell’s (1988) view, “Sport should be seen as a site not only for producing strong women athletes but for producing strong, confident, politically aware women” (p. 490), further articulating “That is the true power of sport…” (p. 490). Thereby, if Psychological Empowerment (Zimmerman, 1990; 1995) is combined with collision sports, such as rugby, the possibility exists to not only challenge societal expectations of female athletes but create vocal and empowered women.Grounded in Zimmerman’s Psychological Empowerment (1990, 1995) and Lim and Dixon’s (2017) conceptual framework outlining a sport-centric empowerment process, this research analyzed the lived experiences of five retired Division I (DI) women’s club rugby players from the Mid-Atlantic region. By utilizing Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), three rounds of interviews were conducted to discover if the propositions recommended by Lim and Dixon (2017) were present in their rugby experiences. The seven propositions included mental and physical sport-specific skills, the experience of conflict of gender and cultural norms within sport, organizational responsibilities, development of a critical consciousness of women and gender issues, empowerment skills, resistance to the male preserve of sport, and action relating to women’s issues. The retired women’s rugby players experienced, to varying degrees, the aforementioned propositions. Most consistently, their lived experiences included examples of developing mental and physical confidence by improving sport skills, the growth of empowerment skills, and demonstrated resistance to the male preserve of sport. The participants failed to cultivate a critical consciousness due to their participation in rugby, however, they were knowledgeable about societal expectations of women beyond the rugby community. Most importantly, these rugby players described incidents of the lasting impact of rugby on their lives. These were both personal and professional, giving merit to the proposed empowerment process and the transference of the empowerment process beyond the sporting environment.Keywords: Empowerment, women’s rugby, phenomenology, sports
|Advisor:||Kiel, Gerald W.|
|Commitee:||Hurst, Heather L., Oglesby, Carole A.|
|School:||Frostburg State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Womens studies, Sociology, Social psychology, Sports Management|
|Keywords:||Empowerment, Phenomenology, Sports, Women, Women's rugby|
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