Contact person:
Daniel Svensson
  • Centrum för idrottsforskning
Responsible at MaU:
Daniel Svensson
External project members:
  • Anna Åberg - Chalmers
Time frame:
01 January 2024 - 31 December 2024
Research subject:

Project description

The project addresses the historical male dominance in the field of sports, particularly in leadership positions within international sport organizations. It highlights the challenges faced by the few women who managed to reach leadership roles in these organizations and aims to study their experiences and strategies, with a specific focus on Inga Löwdin. Inga Löwdin's career in sports leadership began in the mid-20th century, primarily within the Swedish Ski Association and the International Ski Federation (FIS), where she was responsible for women's cross-country skiing. Her significant achievements included securing support for including women's skiing in FIS World Championships and the IOC Winter Olympics.

The project intends to showcase how female leaders like her contributed to advancing gender equality in international sports. They did this by advocating for female athletes' participation in international competitions and encouraging female representation in sports governance. The project employs the concept of gender boundaries in sports and how they can be transformed through conscious efforts. It aims to demonstrate how Inga Löwdin and her network pushed the boundaries of what was possible for women in cross-country skiing. The researchers plan to conduct in-depth archival research in the Swedish state archives, focusing on Inga Löwdin's personal archives and materials from the Swedish ski association. This includes correspondence, minutes, notes, and letters that will help uncover the barriers and strategies employed by female sport leaders.

The project utilizes a biographical method to analyze Inga Löwdin's life and career within the context of her time. This approach considers the interplay between Löwdin as a subject and the structures she worked within. While the ultimate goal is to write a comprehensive biography of Inga Löwdin, the immediate objective is to publish a theory-driven article in an international peer-reviewed journal. This article will also help in mapping Löwdin's network for future transnational prosopographical studies of female sports networks. In summary, this research project aims to provide a deeper understanding of the challenges and strategies of female sport leaders, using Inga Löwdin as a prominent example. It seeks to contribute to the historical narrative of gender inequality in international sports and highlight the strategies employed to transform sports organizations and promote gender equality.