Corporatising Sport, Gender and Development: postcolonial IR feminisms, transnational private governance and global corporate social engagement


Hayhurst, Lyndsay. 2011. “Corporatising Sport, Gender and Development: Postcolonial IR Feminisms, Transnational Private Governance and Global Corporate Social Engagement.” Third World Quarterly 32 (3): 531–49.

Author: Lyndsay Hayhurst


The ‘Girl Effect’ is a growing but understudied movement that assumes girls are catalysts capable of bringing social and economic change for their families, communities and countries. The evolving discourse associated with this movement holds profound implications for development programmes that focus on girls and use sport and physical activity to promote gender equality, challenge gender norms, and teach confidence and leadership skills. Increasingly sport, gender and development (SGD) interventions are funded and implemented by multinational corporations (MNCs) as part of the mounting portfolio of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in international development. Drawing on postcolonial feminist IR theory and recent literature on transnational private governance, this article considers how an MNC headquartered in the global North that funds a SGD programme informed by the ‘Girl Eeffect’ movement in the Two-Thirds World is implicated in the postcolonial contexts in which it operates. Qualitative research methods were used, including interviews with MNC CSR staff members. The findings reveal three themes that speak to the colonial residue within corporate-funded SGD interventions: the power of brand authority; the importance of ‘authentic’ subaltern stories; and the politics of the ‘global’ sisterhood enmeshed in saving ‘distant’ others. The implications of these findings for SGD are discussed in terms of postcolonial feminist approaches to studying sport for development and peace more broadly.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Feminisms, Gender, Girls, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Multi-National Corporations

Year: 2011

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