While scholars have focused their attention on women working in management positions within several segments of the sport industry, limited research has been done within the health and fitness industry. The purpose of this study provided career path information and advice to women pursuing a management position within the health and fitness industry. The participants were 480 female managers who were distributed the Career Paths of Women in Sports Survey in eliciting responses related to their career paths and career advice. Means were calculated for the quantitative data. A three-step content-analytic procedure was used to analyze the qualitative data. The practical information focused on women climbing the ladder from an entry-level position to the management position they are in today. Career advice included, but was not limited to, continuing education, staying up-to-date on certifications, gaining practical experience, networking and obtaining a mentor.
There are a wide range of careers available in the various segments of the sport industry, thus making it hard to track statistics of women working in sport management. The sport industry consists of interscholastic athletics, intercollegiate athletics, academia, recreational sports, business, and diverse populations (Hums, Bower, Grappendorf, in press). Women working in the management of the sport industry has been examined within segments such as intercollegiate athletics (Acosta & Carpenter, 2004; Lapchick, 2004; Wolverton, 2005), recreational sports (Aitchison, Jordan, Brackenridge, 1999; Bower & Hums, 2003), business (Hums & Sutton, 2000; Hums & Sutton, 1999), and diverse populations (Hums & Moorman, 1999; Lapchick, 2004; Wolverton, 2005). Recreational sport, particularly the health and fitness industry, is one segment of the sport industry that is of particular interest to the researcher.
The health and fitness industry has several career opportunities for women to pursue management positions within the commercial, corporate, campus recreation, hospital, cardiac rehab, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and assisted living. With 16 of the 30 fastest growing occupations between 2004 and 2014 being health related (U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, 2007b), marketing efforts in women's health and fitness services and products has never been larger and continue to grow considering women represent nearly 50.8% of the population and comprise of 52% of approximately 36 million health club members in the United States (International Health, Raquet, and Sportsclub Association [IHRSA], 2006).
Many women have been involved in the management of the health and fitness industry Judi Sheppard Missett introduced jazzercise in 1969 and was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Jazzercise, Inc. She actively was the President and CEO of the International Franchise businesses (Dreyfus, 2006). Anna and Cynthis Benson along with Mark Henriksen opened the Firm in 1969. The Firm eventually sold more than 2 million copies of their in-home group exercise videos (The Firm, 2006). Kari Anderson has been the Director of Pro-Robic Conditioning Clubs and has taught aerobics for nearly 16 years (Anderson, 2006). Jane Fonda opened a studio franchise called "The Workout." Finally, Gin Miller was the Founder of "Gin Miller Productions," one of the leading fitness production companies in the industry (Reebok, 2006).
Many organizations, such as, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the Aerobic Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), are helping women to obtain, maintain, and advance within management position in the health and fitness industry. These organizations have female leaders providing fitness professionals with …