WomenSport International Newsletter

Global Voice of Research-Based Advocacy for Women's Sport

Message from the President: June 2021

Since our inaugural April newsletter, WomenSport International has been amplifying the presence and voices of women as we move toward a safer, more gender-balanced sport community.

In partnership with the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, WSI nominated Dr. Kari Fasting, a WSI founding member and past president, for the International Olympic Committee’s Global Women in Sports Award. Dr. Fasting has reached the second round of the IOC selection process, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed! In any case, WSI honours Dr. Fasting’s influential contributions to women in sport worldwide, which will be highlighted in our next newsletter.

WSI congratulates Dr. Junko Tahara – representing the Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sports Sciences – on becoming a member of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE) Development Committee. Junko Tahara is an active WSI Board member and serves on the Membership and Communication Committee.

Meanwhile, UN Women has organized Generation Equality Forum: Paris (June 30-July 2). On July 1, UN Women is co-organizing, with the French government and the IOC, a program to celebrate commitments to sport for Generation Equality. Regrettably, none of the international organizations that specifically advocate for the needs and issues of women in sport will be presenting at this important forum, even though they submitted abstracts to do so. Regardless, we recommend that you register for this event here.

The Tokyo Summer Games are reaping kudos as the first gender-balanced Olympics, with female athletes representing 48.8 percent of total participants. This will encourage more girls to become involved in sports. We must strive to ensure officials, coaches, managers, administrators, medical teams, and volunteers also experience gender-balanced participation. Here’s to a safe and successful Olympics, free from the impact of COVID-19, for the athletes, organizers, volunteers, and everyone else who has worked hard on these Games.

Last but not least, our thanks to newsletter editor-in-chief Lucas Aykroyd (lucasaykroyd@yahoo.com), along with new assistant editor Peri Sheinin. This edition includes recommended summer reading about women’s sports, professional opportunities, and much more. Please feel free to reach out with information about women’s sports you’d like to share in future newsletters.

Diane Huffman

President, WomenSport International

Big picture

WSI Town Hall

WSI hosted a Town Hall in May 2021. This was an opportunity for the WSI community to learn more about WSI and its current initiatives with WSI Committees and Task Forces. Three Town Hall sessions were conducted in three different time zones to accommodate our members and friends worldwide.

After a welcome from WSI President Diane Huffman, WSI Director Kari Fasting shared a brief history of our organization. WSI Advisory Board member Junko Tahara presented the current board members. Each committee and task force discussed their initiatives. Each Town Hall session concluded with an interactive discussion with participants. Click here to view Town Hall videos.

President Welcome: WSI President, Diane Huffman

Brief History of WSI: WSI Director, Kari Fasting

Introduction of the Current Board Members: WSI Advisory Board, Junko Tahara

International Task Force: Chair, Diane Huffman

Legal Committee: Chair, Guro Johnsen

Communication and Membership Committee: Chair, Kanae Haneishi

Sportwomen and The Media Task Force: Co-Chair, Toni Bruce and Dunja Antunovic

Leadership Task Force: Chair, Guro Johnsen

Non-Accidental Violence in Sport Task Force: Chair Kari Fasting

Sport in a Post-Binary World Task Force: Co-Chair, Carole Oglesby and Payoshni Mitra

Future Direction of WSI: WSI President, Diane Huffman

Thanks to all our participants for this great discussion. We look forward to hosting more interactive sessions in the near future.

Kanae Haneishi

Secretary General, WomenSport International

Recommended Reading: 2021 Women’s Sports Books

Looking to catch up on your reading this summer? Here are 20 must-read 2021 books about women’s sports. Listed chronologically, they include biographies, histories, media commentaries, children's books, and more.

Strong and Free: Stories and Photos of Canadian Women in Sport by Lyndsay Doyle (Jan. 2021, FriesenPress)

Raising Tomorrow’s Champions: What the Women’s National Soccer Team Teaches Us About Grit, Authenticity, and Winning by Joanna Lohman (Feb. 16, 2021, Inspire Digital Media)

Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando (Feb. 23, 2021, Radius Book Group)

A Diva Was a Female Version of a Wrestler: An Abbreviated Herstory of World Wrestling Entertainment by Scarlett Harris (Mar. 2, 2021, Fayetteville Mafia Press)

Thrill Seekers: 15 Remarkable Women in Extreme Sports by Ann McCallum Staats (Mar. 2, 2021, Chicago Review Press)

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 by Kevin L. Jones and Christina M. Johnson (Mar. 9, 2021, Prestel)

Arrival: How Scotland’s Women Took Their Place on the World Stage and Inspired a Generation by Steven Lawther (Mar. 15, 2021, Pitch Publishing)

Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America by Julie DiCaro (Mar. 16, 2021, Dutton)

Fighting Visibility: Sports Media and Female Athletes in the UFC by Jennifer McClearen (Mar. 30, 2021, University of Illinois Press)

Out and Back: A Runner’s Story of Survival Against All Odds by Hillary Allen (Apr. 6, 2021, Blue Star Press)

Women in Rugby edited by Helene Joncheray (Apr. 28, 2021, Routledge)

Seconds Out: Women and Fighting by Alison Dean (May 2021, Coach House Press)

They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood by Sugar Rodgers (May 4, 2021, Black Sheep)

We Got Game!: 35 Female Athletes Who Changed the World by Aileen Weintraub (May 4, 2021, Running Press Kids)

All In: Becoming World Champion by Laura Massaro (May 31, 2021, Neilsen)

Degrees of Difficulty: How Women's Gymnastics Rose to Prominence and Fell from Grace by Georgia Cervin (June 15, 2021, University of Illinois Press)

Never Surrender: The Inside Story of the Giants’ AFLW 2020 Season by Georgina Hibberd (June 23, 2021, Hutch Industries)

Women, Horse Sports and Liberation: Equestrianism and Britain from the 18th to the 20th Centuries by Erica Munkwitz (July 14, 2021, Routledge)

All In: An Autobiography by Billie Jean King (Aug.17, 2021, Knopf)

Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League by Britni de la Cretaz and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo (Nov. 2, 2021, Bold Type Books)

Big picture

Athlete Spotlight: Canada's Bailey Stonham Blazes a Trail for Women in Luge

At age 17, Canada’s Bailey Stonham is going places – very quickly. The Ottawa-area multi-sport athlete has competed in obstacle course racing (OCR), where she looked up to world champion and fellow Canadian Lindsay Webster, and she is now making her mark in sliding sports.

Stonham is the first woman in more than 25 years to represent Ontario and Eastern Canada in artificial luge, and has become the first woman ever to represent Canada in natural luge. Training up to six days a week, she also enthusiastically competes in the CrossFit Open. WSI caught up with Stonham recently.

How did you first get into luge?

At first, I used to do competitive ski racing at Calabogie Peaks. And I got recruited from ski racing to then try luge. So then I did natural luge for about a season and a half, I’d say, before COVID hit. So then they gave me the opportunity to head out to Italy to continue in natural luge.

You’ve done artificial luge on tracks in Lake Placid, Calgary, and Whistler. What appeals to you about natural luge specifically?

I find it more thrilling and exciting because you get to do more moving as you’re going down the track. You have to walk up and you get to look at the track on your way up. It’s down a ski hill. You get to feel your speed a lot faster.

What is the top speed you’ve hit in luge?

When I was training in Italy, they didn’t have a radar, so I wasn’t able to test my speed in natural luge. In artificial luge, it’s about 120 km/h.

And what are your future goals in luge?

To help build a national club here in Ontario, to create programs to not only teach athletes but also future luge coaches. I’d love to hold local, provincial and national races, develop programs, and continue to inspire girls and women in this sport.

- Interview and story by WSI newsletter editor-in-chief Lucas Aykroyd

Big picture

Join WSI and Be a Part of the Change for Women in Sport!

WSI now offers an updated membership drive that allows members to pay directly by credit card worldwide. Click here for the membership form.

Membership Benefits

  • Access to an international network of experts for sharing research, information, ideas, good practices, and actions taken

  • Communication regarding research-based strategies to enhance gender equity practices in the sport industries

  • Support to enhance opportunities and effect change for women and girls in sport and physical activity

  • Invitation to WSI functions at major international conferences

Definition of Membership

  • General Individual Membership. Active membership shall be open to individuals who support the aims and objectives of WSI and want to take an active role in the organization. (This includes the right to vote at the Annual General Meeting and in elections, and to run for office)..

  • Student Membership. Student membership is open to those involved in a degree program and enrolled in at least one class each term.

  • Organizational Membership. Organizational membership shall be open to any organization that supports the aims and objectives of WSI. Members of such organizations shall automatically become general individual members; however the organization (including its members) shall only have one vote at the Annual General Meeting.

Annual Membership Fees (USD)

  • $200 for Organizations

  • $50 for General Individuals

  • $15 for Students


To support our global mission, all members are required to pay the annual membership fee. As circumstances warrant, WSI will consider waiving the membership fee while maintaining confidentiality. Individuals approved for a fee waiver will receive the full membership benefits. All applicants will get confirmation of their membership status from the Board. Applications are processed monthly. Individuals and organizations will receive a confirmation of membership.

Questions? Email info@womensportinternational.org.

Professional Opportunities

NBC’s On Her Turf: Freelance Writer

Just Women’s Sports: Producer

Women in Sports and Entertainment (WISE): Emerging Leaders Certificate Program

Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ): Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program

Big picture