WomenSport International Newsletter

Global Voice of Research-Based Advocacy for Women in Sport

Message from the President: April 2021

We’re excited to launch our first newsletter for WomenSport International members. It’s part of our mission to communicate directly with you and engage you in our activities, including our first member forum, slated for the end of April. Building a fair and equitable sport environment for girls and women has never been more urgent.

COVID-19 has affected all of us in many ways. Lack of access to training facilities and programs, cancelled competitions, empty stands, increasing gender-based violence, and reduced opportunities for women in sport are among the challenges. WSI continues to fight for the rights of women in sport through advocacy and education.

We’re setting up new task forces to address safety in sports, gender-identity discrimination, the lack of female coaches, athletes’ rights, inclusion for people with disabilities, and advancing women’s leadership, among other topics.

We’ve also introduced a legal committee with highly regarded legal experts from six different countries. Our communication committee is working hard to promote our web site, social media and webinars. Our membership committee, headed by Secretary General Kanae Haneishi, is striving to ensure we can support our work and engage members in our activities.

Thanks to our new editor-in-chief Lucas Aykroyd for volunteering to take on this newsletter. We are so lucky as an organization to have such active and committed individuals leading and driving WSI. Please email Lucas (lucasaykroyd@yahoo.com) your news, calls for papers, job opportunities, and other information affecting women in sport, with "WSI" in the subject line.

Last but definitely not least, I thank Therabody on behalf of the WSI Board and our members for their generous contribution to WomenSport International to mark International Women’s Day. It was a wonderful surprise, and we look forward to working together again in the future.

Diane Huffman

President, WomenSport International

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WSI News

We kicked off March with a positive message from WSI President Diane Huffman, along with a video message from the board members on International Women’s Day.

WSI has recently issued statements supporting action against the now-removed Chairperson of the Tokyo Olympic Games regarding his sexist comments and the gender inequities in the NCAA basketball tournament.

WSI members presented at two major international conferences in March. Diane Huffman, Dr. Carole Oglesby, and Dr. Kari Fasting took part in a seminar at United Nations CWS 65 along with IWG Women Sport, ACSM News, IAPESGW, and the Women’s Sports Foundation. Dr. Ani Chroni spoke about the forthcoming launch of the Global Observatory for Women and Sport in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, Dr. Toni Bruce, Dr. Kanae Haneishi, and Maka Chikowero presented at the Sport for Women's Empowerment and Employment Program International Conference. The title of the presentation was “Working together for meaningful changes – interdisciplinary research-based advocacy for girls and women in sport.”

WSI board member Gabi Salomon released her research on gender initiatives in the football workplace.

Finally, WSI is recruiting volunteers to help with a Sport Media Task Force video project. It involves interviewing current and former WSI members to create videos that provide an overview of WSI's history and mission. Interested? Contact Dr. Dunja Antunovic at info@womensportinternational.org.

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Athlete Spotlight: US Paralympic Swim Star Rebecca Meyers

WSI caught up with Rebecca "Becca" Meyers, a two-time ESPY Award winner as Best Female Athlete with a Disability, on International Women’s Day last month during a break in her training for the upcoming Para swimming World Series in Lewisville, Texas (April 15-17) and the US Paralympic Team Trials in Minneapolis, Minnesota (June 17-20).

Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, Becca smashed a 29-year-old world record by nearly 12 seconds in the S12 (classification for visually impaired) 400m individual medley and set another world record in the 200m butterfly at the 2019 U.S. Paralympics National Para Swimming Championships/CanAm Open.

WSI asked Becca how she has handled the pandemic’s effects on her training as an elite athlete and life in general. “It was a difficult adjustment with everything being closed and not being able to train,” she revealed. “Before the pandemic hit, I was living and training with the Nation’s Capital Swim Club in Washington, D.C. My coach, Bruce Gemmell, continued coaching via email and text, sending me workouts I could do at home in Baltimore, as the pools were closed and I was not able to swim for four months. The 2020 Paralympics were postponed to 2021 and I had to adjust my training schedule and physical and mental routines to the yearlong delay.”

Becca said the isolation from her teammates and friends was also tough, but she adapted to connecting with them through phone calls, texts, emails, and social media, using special technology.

As a native of Baltimore, Maryland and a swimmer since age six, Becca took advantage of the time off from training to work on finishing her bachelor’s degree in history. She’s slated to graduate next month from Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, Pennsylvania): “I am working hard and excited to graduate before the US Paralympic Team Trials. I will be ready and aim to qualify for my third Paralympics.”

A 15-time World Champion medalist, six-time Paralympic medalist, and multi-world record holder, Becca’s goal is to medal in all her events at the Tokyo 2020 Games, including the S12 100m freestyle, S13 100m butterfly, 200m IM, and 400m freestyle.

Becca, 26, was born deaf with Usher’s Syndrome, a rare genetic condition. Her vision impairment is progressive, and she relies on her beloved service guide dog, Birdie.

WSI asked Becca how she was celebrating International Women’s Day: “I’m sharing my story on social media to inspire the next generation of girls and women that despite one’s limitations or disabilities, anything can be achieved if you just go for it. I’m also reflecting on the opportunities I’ve gotten through sport, plus my fellow women training partners, coaches, and mentors. Without their support, I would not be where I am today. Thank you to all the women who came before me. I hope to keep paving the way for future generations of women in sports.”

Interview and story by Dr. Becky Clark, Secretary, WSI Executive Committee

Calls for Papers and Conference Announcements

IWG Women & Sport's IWG World Conference runs May 5-8, 2022 in Auckland (New Zealand). The conference theme is "Change Inspires Change."

IAPEGW will stage its 19th Quadrennial World Congress in Tianjin (China) from September 8-10, 2021.

ICSSPE holds its Board Meetings and General Assembly on May 11 and 12, 2021.

The Women’s History Conference at the University of Worcester (UK) takes place in November 2021 with a “Women in Sport” theme. Call for papers: submit a 300-word abstract by May 1.

The third annual SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference is slated for September 10-12, 2021, at Rockford University (USA). The call for papers is open.

The Twelfth International Conference on Sport & Society (“Sport and Society in Crisis”), running June 24-25, 2021 at the University of Granada (Spain), is seeking proposals.

Deadline to apply for the Celia Brackenridge International Research Award is May 28, 2021. The award (£500) is intended to recognize and promote excellence in scholarship on child welfare in sport and/or women and sport.

Other Professional Opportunities

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