Women in management and leadership in the Olympic movement in Muslim majority countries: an empirical evaluation of Huntington's clash of civilisations typology

2013-02-22T14:15:53Z (GMT) by Shushu Chen Ian Henry
This article seeks to evaluate whether there are differences between Samuel Huntington’s ‘civilisational groups’ of countries in terms of women’s leadership of Olympic organisations. The article draws on two questionnaire surveys which evaluate the electoral practices and outcomes of Olympic bodies (i.e. National Olympic Committees and International Federations) relating to gender equity and governance, with a specific intention to compare the role of women in the leadership of such bodies between Islamic societies and non-Islamic contexts. The vehicle for analysing the data employs Huntington’s well-known but controversial civilisational typology which identifies nine major cultural civilisational groups (including Western and Islamic states). This allows the authors to explore the extent to which differences may exist between Western and Islamic societies and others, with regard to women’s roles in leadership and governance of Olympic bodies. Differences between Muslim, and other religious groupings on the one hand and secular liberal democratic groupings on the other, are often assumed to reflect the distinction between tradition and modernity, and sport is seen in the literature in large part as a product of modernity. However, results of the statistical analysis of women’s roles in senior positions in NOCs in particular, do not reflect Western ‘superiority’ in terms of women’s representation. This article thus casts doubt on the appropriateness of considering the Islamic norm as traditional, and the Western norm as modern.