Women’s professional sport leagues: a systematic review and future directions for research

Thomson, Alana ORCID: 0000-0002-9388-4225, Hayes, Michelle ORCID: 0000-0001-7542-7357, Hanlon, Clare ORCID: 0000-0001-5547-5327, Toohey, Kristine and Taylor, Tracy ORCID: 0000-0002-8847-7692 (2022) Women’s professional sport leagues: a systematic review and future directions for research. Sport Management Review. ISSN 1441-3523


Women’s professional sport has grown over the last decade and so has academic scholarship investigating it. It is timely to review and consolidate extant scholarship to identify patterns and gaps in research and future directions for research to support continued advancement in women’s professional sport knowledge and practice. This paper presents a systematic quantitative literature review (SQLR) of 57 academic peer-reviewed journal articles researching women’s professional sport leagues and published between 2000 and 2019. We provide bibliographic findings, extend the typical SQLR approach and provide an inductive thematic analysis of article findings to synthesise the knowledge base present in the extant research. Based on our SQLR findings, we highlight four key research directions, including the need for (1) diversity in inquiry and reflexivity by researchers, (2) innovative and enabling theories and conceptual frameworks, (3) transdisciplinary research approaches and (4) sustainable business models for women’s professional sport. We emphasise that to advance our theoretical understandings and sport management practices in women’s professional sport, academics must commit to exploring women’s sport in new and different ways, to achieve new and different knowledge and outcomes.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/44613
DOI 10.1080/14413523.2022.2066391
Official URL https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14413...
Funders https://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/ DP190101722
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3504 Commercial services
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4410 Sociology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords women's sport, women athletes, professional sport leagues, gender, talent pathways
Citations in Scopus 2 - View on Scopus
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