Ok it’s been over a year since I went for an internship interview and was asked this question. A year later I am still a little shocked that this was a question deemed appropriate to ask.

I will not name the club I went to for this interview or the interviewers, but I do think its time to discuss.

To put it into a bit of context:

  • I was 26 years old when I was asked this (so not really a girl)
  • I was applying for a position as an S&C intern.
  • At that point I had been working in sport and fitness (a male dominant environment), for over 8 years.
  • I was the only female lined up for an interview.
  • I’m not what you’d call a girly girl, nor do I appear to be anything other than a tom boy upon meeting me.

Obviously I didn’t get this internship, which I feel is a positive thing now especially since working in rugby with a great team who are equally respectful and positive having me coach strength and conditioning; this only highlights the ridiculousness of the question.

Now this was about the 5th question I was asked. I was also asked if I would just take off again (I had worked abroad in sport and fitness on my CV), again a slightly presumptuous question/statement. During the interview; I feel I interviewed very well (which was confirmed in email feedback), I was nervous as everyone is and they said my CV was the most impressive. However being hit with such confusing and negative questions so soon in the interview knocked me off and made me forget a few key experiences that directly related to coaching rugby and strength and conditioning.

My point in writing about this; I do not want to rant as such but to ask questions like that in this day is ridiculous.

If you truely believe being a female may present a challenge to the job role, then question the problems that may arise from this, not the gender. I had only one question in my mind at the end of the interview after being taken by shock and it was a response of… “Do you believe there are any challenges as a female coach I should be aware of for my future in this career?” Both the interviewer and the other coach looked in shock and responded with a no, most of the team have worked with female coaches before and have been fine. They still looked puzzled. I added “I just wanted to check with you asking the question before, I would like to be prepared if it were the case”.

Now don’t get me wrong I have come across sexism in the gym world and in sport coaching in the past 9 years. However it has usually been less direct and people presuming I can’t lift something or don’t know about ceratin aspects such as weightlifting, rugby or climbing etc. I am aware it’s there, but we have certainely grown since the generation of my parents and grandparents who don’t believe women should work in sport or be in sport haven’t we…

I hope that this is a bit of food for thought for those who are in this industry and I certainly hope I do not come across this kind of thinking again.

 

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