Disputation | Godispengar” eller ”överdådig lyx” – om elitidrott, ekonomi och jämställdhet av Anna Maria Hellborg, Malmö universitet, den 8 mars 2019

På fredag den 8 mars 2019 lägger Anna Maria Hellborg fram sin avhandling i idrottsvetenskap vid Malmö universitet, ”Godispengar” eller ”överdådig lyx” – om elitidrott, ekonomi och jämställdhet. Disputationen äger rum i Orkanen, sal D138, Malmö Universitet, Nordenskiöldsgatan 10, kl 13:15 och ett par timmar framöver.

Avhandlingsarbetet har bedrivits med stöd av handledarna

    • Professor Susanna Hedenborg, Malmö universitet och
    • Docent Kutte Jönsson, Malmö universitet

Opponent är docent Jesper Andreasson, Linnéuniversitetet.

Betygsnämnden består av följande ledamöter:

    • Professor Jorid Hovden, NTNU,
    • Professor Johnny Wijk, Stockholms universitet samt
    • Docent Kristin Järvstad, Malmö universitet

Avhandlingen är utgiven av Bokförlaget idrottsforum.org och ingår i serien Malmö Studies in Sport Sciences som volym 30. Den kan beställas här.


The purpose of this study is to problematize and analyze the conception and construction of elite athletes’ economical terms through a feministic lens. I will specifically try to investigate and illustrate how women and men who want to invest and try out for elite sports, are constructed as economical actors, how economical prerequisites to practice their sport are depicted and if, and in what way, the professionalization of the sport is gender equal. The four sports that are examined in this study are curling, football, golf and equestrian. The study contributes to the illustration of sport management issues from a feministic, gender and equality perspective. I have chosen multiple theories that I believe explain the different parts of my material in relation to feminism, gender equality and gender theories. The concepts used are the connection between material and cultural inequality (Fraser and Ridgeway), dominance and power structures (Young and Halldenius), the connection between the public and the private (Okin) and the gender contract (Hirdman). Mainly two types of material are used. An analysis of the sport associations’ official magazines and interviews with different organizational leaders within the associations.

This dissertation shows that the issues regarding financial conditions for elite athletes are depicted differently in the different sports. There are diverse challenges for the sports and their associations in the work towards gender equality. The different conditions are affected by size, status, connections to the market and dependence of funds. Several problematic issues are identified such as distribution of resources by the associations, the distribution by sponsors, the distribution by the SOK, prize money and family life. The struggle for a gender equal distribution of resources in elite sports are ongoing. The magazines depict women as receiving less money than men in their sports. A common argument for this distribution is the greater interest in men’s sports, which refers to that men’s sports generate more money. Women’s sport is economically marginalized. An excessive redistribution of assets and a restructuring of the control over resources are necessary aspects to rectify gender inequality. Professional sports as they appear today, partly controlled by the market, are not gender equal. It appears to be a great gap between gender equality and the market logic. As it appears from this study, a key seems to be adding value to women’s sports on all levels, from associations to spectators. The relationship between the Swedish state and the sports movement (RF) is defined by an implicit contract. The state provides funds to RF and in turn, RF has a responsibility to make sure sport is equal for all. Since the implicit contract also means that the state does not interfere with how the sport confederation distribute the funds this means that the distribution of resources benefits men’s elite sports because it is considered more worthy by the sport organizations. RF do not fulfill their part of the contract and the state approves the inequality by not making demands. The implicit contract becomes gender impregnated.

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