Gender segregation dynamics: Women participation and performance in competitive chess in the Netherlands  


Equality and diversity within society is vital for social justice, and contributes to societal progress and to organizational and economic performance. Yet, gender and other inequality persist throughout societies, appearing in different forms and configurations. To analyse dynamics of persistent gendered segregation, this research project by Prof.  Jeroen Struben (emlyon business school) leverages the empirical context of competitive chess. Jeroen examines gender segregation dynamics resulting from interactions between potential players entry decisions, players’ decisions about commitment to improve, game play, and dropout, and of their performance, within the broader co-evolving world-of-chess environment from which the problems arise. For this he has compiled a quantitative spatiotemporal (1994-2018) dataset on the participation and performance of over 40,000 individual members within the Dutch Chess Federation (KNSB), combining this with elite-player interviews, an integrative literature review, and computation and simulation. The present, work-in-progress, analysis suggests the centrality of multiple endogenous social-influence processes (involving peers, role models, and the broader community) interacting with game-play choices and design that together reinforce any fixed societal biases such those resulting from gendered role expectations. Early findings on high leverage desegregation policies point to the requirement of a broad set of interventions with long commitment.

Chess Game

Project period: 2021– ongoing

Key people: Jeroen Struben

Contexts: Global chess community

Organizations: Koninklijke Nederlandse Schaakbond

Supported by:  emlyon business school,

Koninklijke Nederlandse Schaakbond