News & Podcast
2020 Fall Tucker Center Newsletter
October greetings to all our Friends of the Tucker Center around the globe!
Since our last e-news at the end of March 2020, so much has happened! The constant transitions, changes, and challenges we’ve faced in a short amount of time are staggering. Despite the socio-political-cultural-environmental chaos, women’s sport stakeholders have used their individual and collective power to stay relevant and persist. And, female athletes have led pronounced efforts of transformation and resistance. On October 19, we will host our annual Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS). The fall 2020 DLS brings together five amazing women who will focus on the current and historical power, importance, and voices of resistance of Black women in the fight for social justice in society, and sport in particular. Read more about the DLS in this newsletter and register for the event. I am so eager for this panel!
What a time to take over the TC directorship from my colleague, professor emerita Dr. Mary Jo Kane. I am humbled by the opportunity, and energized by the challenge of growing the Tucker Center’s impact. I am taking this fall to reflect and develop a new strategic plan that will help us achieve this goal. Stay tuned for some exciting new initiatives that will complement our existing research, education, and outreach. For example, after 27 years of sending a printed newsletter, we are taking a new, environmentally friendly approach and going fully digital with our communications. Speaking of new, this fall we welcome two notable and wonderful new members to the Tucker Team: Dr. Dunja Antunovic, assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology, and doctoral student and GAGE Fellow Efrat Abadi. I hope you will read more about them in our linked articles, and join me in welcoming them.
As many of us have pivoted to online platforms for just about everything, digital content for teaching and engagement is in high demand. We encourage you to access, use, and share our vast array of action-oriented, evidence-based, free resources available on our website. Join us and encourage others on social media to use #SHECANCOACH, #HERESPROOF, and the new #disruptHERS hashtags. We know that our remarkable community is committed to thoughtfully reflecting and capturing the momentum around women’s sport happening right now. Leveraging social media is a great way to support and amplify each other in our quest to raise awareness of gender disparities in sport and celebrate success.
In our March 2020 newsletter, I implored our community to continue important work, so that hard-earned momentum, energy, resources, and commitment to gender equity for girls and women in sport was not lost. In this time of change, I believe we have vast opportunities to strategize on how to emerge better and stronger. Our efforts will uniquely position each of us to lead in the effort to improve the landscape for girls and women in sport. The work has continued, and will continue! It’s a testament to who you are, and who WE are together. Through it all, the Tucker Team remained committed to our mission of advancing gender equity for girls and women in sport through conducting and disseminating research. Thank you to our virtual interns and colleagues around the globe who continue to help make this possible. Throughout this newsletter you will read about ongoing research, creative work, and our many collaborative efforts.
I miss seeing you in person, but look forward to hearing from you about the ways you are advancing girls and women in sport.
Stay safe, give yourself grace, support others, and let the data tell the story.
Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D.
Director, The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport
by Sophie Glassford, second year master’s student in Kinesiology, Tucker Team member
The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport is delighted to welcome Dunja Antunovic, PhD, as the newest member of the Tucker Team and as an assistant professor in the Tucker Center’s parent School of Kinesiology. Dr. Antunovic earned her undergraduate and master’s degree in journalism from DePaul University, and her PhD in Mass Communications from The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). Her research focuses on the intersection of gender, sport, and media—a perfect compliment to one of the Tucker Center’s main areas of research.
Like many who have come to work and collaborate with the Tucker Center, Dr. Antunovic has experience as an athlete and a coach. As a Hungarian national junior tennis champion and student-athlete at DePaul University, she “was always attentive to the invisibility and the problematic representations of women in sports media.” She credits her experiences as a teaching assistant, an assistant tennis coach, and writing her master’s thesis on barriers women coaches face in NCAA Division I sport for her inspiration to pursue a doctoral degree so she could further explore gender, sport, and media.
Dr. Antuovic’s work aligns with the Tucker Center’s research and mission, and she states that past publications by Dr. Mary Jo Kane and Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi are foundational to several of her own studies. She also regularly uses TC research and educational materials in her classes. She is eager to contribute to furthering these efforts and intends to “continue asking the question ‘how are sportswomen represented in the media?’ and on a more theoretical level, ‘how is gender constructed in the context of media?’”
In addition to continuing the work she’s done in the past, Dr. Antunovic plans to expand her questions and perhaps ask questions differently. She is interested in the contemporary visibility of women’s sports, and how this visibility might impact the broader structures that women’s sport exist in today.
“I am interested in the question of how content about women’s sport circulates across different spaces and stakeholders; and how this might challenge narratives about women’s sport,” Antunovic said. “I began to address that question in my co-authored study on the Tucker Center's #HERESPROOF campaign, but certainly there is much more to learn.”
She also plans to broaden her research focus and context to include more of an international lense, looking specifically at women’s sports in Central and Eastern Europe compared to women’s sport in a global context. Additionally, she plans to bring an international focus into the classroom, including using her experiences as an international tennis player and teaching global perspective courses.
Dr. Antunovic’s educational background was key to developing her multidisciplinary approach to research. During her PhD program at Penn State, she had the opportunity to look at sport through socio-cultural, historical, and kinesiology lenses. In her previous faculty position at Bradley University, she taught socio-cultural courses in the Sports Communication program. Her connection to sport sociology and communications helps her make connections across disciplines. In discussing her research style, Dr. Antunovic said, “while some of my research is conceptual with a focus on theory and methods, I also often conclude my studies with the applied implications of the findings to inform communication-related practices in the sport industry.”
This commitment to the applied implications of findings solidifies Dr. Antunovic as a perfect fit for the TC. The main goal of the TC is to do research and use that data to create positive, meaningful improvements for women and girls in sport.
“The Tucker Center is a truly unique space for several reasons,” Antunovic said. “Specifically, the interdisciplinary approach to research about girls and women in sport and the Center's many collaborations and partnerships with various organizations that have similar goals. One of the many advantages of the Tucker Center is the collective. In terms of joining the Tucker Team, I am most looking forward to mentoring graduate students and collaborating with members of the team on projects. I am grateful to be a part of a collective committed to improving the lives of girls and women in sport.”
Meanwhile, we at the Tucker Center are grateful to have her join the team! Welcome Dr. Antunovic!
My name is Efrat Abadi and I am an international PhD student in the Department of Kinesiology and a team member in the Tucker Center. I am also a recipient of the Grants to Advance Graduate Education (GAGE) Fellowship, a program designed to increase the diversity of students earning graduate degrees at the University of Minnesota. Sport has always been a significant part of my life. At the age of ten I started playing basketball. I chose basketball because I wanted to be taller, but those who have met me understand that height is not my strong suit! I idolized my brother and watched him play basketball which influenced me to fall in love with the game.
When I turned 18 I was recruited to the Israeli Army, an obligatory service for every Israeli citizen. Most females are assigned to desk roles, but I chose to serve in a special combat unit for women. This role was historically, and is still perceived as, exclusively male. However, in 2000 the unit was opened to women as part of a change in government policy in an effort to include women in combat roles. As a member of the first official battalion in 2004, we were real pioneers! The problem was that the field was not well prepared to receive us. I, like many of my sisters in arms, had to wear shoes two sizes too large and vests that did not fit the female body. This experience provided me with the understanding that policy change is essential, but not enough to make all changes necessary for implementation, integration, support, and inclusion.
As a physical education teacher and a basketball coach I often encountered difficulty recruiting girls to teams. When I started to play basketball, most of my school girlfriends were my basketball teammates, yet as we grew older, more and more of these friends stopped playing. These experiences inspired my master’s thesis research, The Role of Socializing Agents on Dropout and Continuing Participation of Adolescent Girls in Masculine-typed Sports. It seems that society’s perception of sport as feminine or masculine has a major impact on girls’ persistence in sports and physical activity. As a result many girls dropout or even refrain from participating in sports and physical activities. Gender roles and gendered experiences often limit girls’ options and ability to discover their interests and talents.
The desire to produce and disseminate knowledge in the field of sports and physical activity in addition to the desire to experience the culture of sports in another country led me to study for a master's degree overseas. I earned my master's degree in sport and exercise psychology from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, under the guidance of Dr. Diane Gill. One influential experience contributing significantly to my desire to study sports psychology took place several years ago. While at basketball practice my coach turned to me suddenly and said, “you work out just like a boy!” As I finished the practice I thought about my coach's words and tried really hard to make sense of what he said to me. Could he be talking about my body structure? Perhaps he was talking about my physical abilities as a woman, or my strong mental stamina while training? I still wonder what the coach meant and whether there is a gender difference in sport practice and play, or that a stereotypical "how to coach girls" mentality makes coaching girls a problem.
The Tucker Center dedicates itself to the advancement of women and girls in sports and is involved in projects to promote gender equality. I see myself as an active agent of an egalitarian society and I use sports and physical activity as a means to help advance women. My goal is to help ensure that girls and young women can choose their own paths, unbounded by social constraints. Sports and physical activities are major avenues for overcoming gender stereotypes in society. My desire to understand and research perspectives on gendered psychology and sociology align with areas of inquiry in the Tucker Center. I look forward to the collaborative work that lies ahead with the Tucker Team and the network of affiliated scholars, partners, and community members.
Data Indicates Assistant Coach is a Critical Zone of Attrition for Women Coaches
Over the last nine years the TC has produced numerous Women in College Coaching Report Cards (WCCRC) in collaboration with WeCOACH. These groundbreaking reports document the percentage of women in head coaching positions for women’s teams, and assign an A through F grade to institutions, conferences, and sports. This year, we collected data for ALL coaching positions at 352 institutions of higher education in all geographic regions of the United States that were current members of 32 NCAA Division-I conferences. To read the full report and access our graphics, click here. The data are beginning to show some interesting trends such as these particular 2019-20 NCAA D-I highlights:
- The percentage of D-I women head coaches went up and is now at 42.3% (up from 42.1% in 2018-19)—the data is trending in the right direction, but is remarkably stagnant. One reason to explain stagnation is that a majority (52.7%, 223 of 442) of head coach hires were men. A male replaced a male head coach 154 times, representing 154 missed targets of opportunity for filling vacant head coach positions with women.
- 18 institutions earned an A (≥ 70% women), 49 institutions earned an F (≤ 24% women). Four institutions had zero (0%) women head coaches.
- While the percentage of women head coaches varies greatly, we like to celebrate industry leaders.
- Institutional leader: Tennessee State (85.7%)
- Conference leader: Ivy League (52.4%)
- Sport leader: Wrestling (100%), NCAA emerging sport
- As the coaching position became more visible, lucrative, and powerful, fewer women occupied the position (see Figure 1).
- Starting at the assistant coach position, men are statistically and significantly older than women and are more likely to have children (see Figure 2).
- Based on the data, we identified that the assistant coach is a critical zone of attrition in the career pipeline for women, possibly due, in part, to parental status. The coaching pipeline for women is leaky between the positions of assistant and associate coach, where the percentage of female coaches shifts from a majority (52.3%) to a minority (46.7%). This report identifies leaks in the pipeline and opportunities for policy, support, resource investment, and programming initiatives.
- Very few coaches at any position (42 of 10,697) are openly gay within their online biographies as reflected by including mention of a same-sex partner. Data indicates that homophobia is prevalent in college athletics, and many LGBTQ coaches do not feel comfortable being their authentic self in their institutional biography for a variety of reasons.
- The culture of college sport privileges heterosexual men with children. Coaching, like many occupations, is gendered. Much work remains to ensure all women, regardless of identity, feel safe, valued, and supported.
To read the full WCCRC and to see which institutions, sports, and conferences receive passing and failing grades, and to read more about factors that contribute to the leaky pipeline, visit our website.
International Collaborative Joins Forces to Examine Elite-Level Women Football Coaches
Tucker Center director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi teamed up with Dr. Annelies Knoppers (Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands), Dr. Leanne Norman, (Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University, UK), and Dr. Donna deHaan, (Faculty of Health, Nutrition and Sport, at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands) for a cutting-edge initiative on women’s football (soccer) which is developing on a global scale. For example, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Women's EURO 2017 Championships attracted a record global audience of over 13 million and became the host nation's most watched sports program of the year. A number of nations have won the Olympics, World Cup, and Euro championships since 2000, and all but one of these winning teams have been coached by women. Despite their perceived success, these women coaches routinely report experiencing discrimination, marginalization, and injustices that limit not only their own career retention and progression, but the careers of all women coaches globally. Serious change to remedy these issues has been very slow, if not non-existent. This project aims to uncover how elite women football coaches negotiate (navigate) these issues over the course of their career journeys. Insight into strategies employed by women may be used to accelerate that change, to recruit and promote other women coaches, increase the visibility of women who lead the game, and make visible the challenging occupational landscape women coaches experience. In this study, women coaches of elite football (soccer) teams around the world were interviewed. See and hear the results by accessing these materials.
- Infographic: Levelling the Playing Field for Women Coaches in Football
- Webinar: Levelling the Playing Field for Women Coaches in Football
- Executive Summary: Elite Women Coaches in Global Football
- Graphic: Levelling the Playing Field for Women Coaches in Football
- Podcast: Tucker Center Talks: S2E10 - Global Research on Culture of Sport & Elite Level Women Coaches
- GameON: Women Can Coach Toolkit
Evidence-based ToolKit About and for Women in Sport Coaching, Now Available
To help improve the occupational landscape for women in sport coaching, the Tucker Center developed an evidence-based toolkit. “GAME ON: Women Can Coach Toolkit” includes important resources to help stakeholders and advocates create a sport climate that values and supports all women coaches. The “Game ON: Women Can Coach Toolkit” includes videos, handouts, powerpoint slides and more! Click here for all Game ON: Women Can Coach Toolkit materials.
by Courtney Boucher, doctoral student in Kinesiology, Tucker Center Research Assistant
Despite the cancellation of many summer internships due to COVID-19, the Tucker Center decided to hold our first-ever completely virtual internship. Our five interns—our largest class to date—were not only from around the country, but differed in stages of professional and personal development. These aspiring young scholars were mentored by Tucker Center faculty and staff in all aspects of the research process. They obtained collaborative experiences and undertook extensive professional development activities. In addition, our unique peer-mentorship structure provided opportunities for them to also learn from each other.
“In our 11 year of providing summer internships we weren’t sure how a virtual experience would go,” said Tucker Center director, Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi. “Each year we attract driven, passionate, and smart individuals from across the U.S. who desire to use the experience with us to springboard their careers, and this year was no exception. Working with and mentoring our interns is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work in the TC, and the virtual environment did not hamper our productivity or team spirit.”
Here you can read more about the Summer 2020 class of TC interns and what they thought about their experiences. You can listen to the interns discuss their experience, research, and projects with director LaVoi on the S2E13 episode of our podcast, “Tucker Center Talks.”
Keep your eye out for these remarkable young women—they have the potential to make a real difference for girls and women in sport!
Tucker Center 2020 Summer Interns (left to right, top to bottom): Greta Sirek, Courtney Boucher, Paige Richmond, Cecelia Kaufmann, Sam Benzing, and Tucker Center director, Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi
The Pam Borton Fellow for Girls & Women in Sport Leadership
Courtney Boucher is a doctoral student studying sport sociology in the School of Kinesiology. Boucher finished her master’s degree in Kinesiology in June 2019, advised by Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi. Boucher’s thesis focused on the longitudinal hiring practices of intercollegiate athletic directors, particularly women head coaches. This summer, as the Borton Fellow, she worked with Dr. LaVoi on the Women in College Coaching Report Card as well as on various aspects of many other different projects. “I’m so grateful to have received the Borton Fellowship and the incredible opportunities that it afforded me,” said Boucher. "This prestigious award allowed me to make a real contribution to the Tucker Center’s incredible and important research.” Boucher will continue her doctoral studies as a PhD student at the U of M under the direction of Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi.
Gender Equity Summer Interns
Sam Benzing will be a senior this fall at the College of Saint Scholastica where she is studying exercise physiology and psychology. She is captain of the Women’s Nordic Ski Team as well as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Over the course of the summer, Benzing worked on an allyship landscape evaluation and reviewed the literature surrounding women’s decisions to take coaching jobs. She told us how much this experience meant to her, "I'm so grateful that I received the opportunity to work with so many inspiring women and contribute to research on women in sport as a Tucker Center Summer Gender Equity Intern. I was able to further my communications,public speaking, and research skills while working on projects that I am passionate about. This summer solidified my interest in women in sport and gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the subject.” Upon completing her undergraduate studies, Sam hopes to pursue a ski coaching position and eventually attend graduate school.
Cecelia Kaufmann is from Minneapolis, MN, and returned for her second summer as a Tucker Center Gender Equity Intern. Kaufmann graduated from Minneapolis South High School this past spring and is now a first year student at Macalester College. This summer, she worked on projects about global women’s soccer coaches, raising male allies, and women coaches of color. Kaufmann spoke highly of her experiences in the Tucker Center.
"The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport is such an incredible place involved in groundbreaking research that facilitates tangible change in the athletic world for female athletes, coaches, and administration,” said Kaufmann. “As a returning intern, this summer further strengthened my holistic research skills, academic writing, and my motivations for research through college and beyond. The impact of the Tucker Center and Dr. LaVoi's incredible leadership and mentorship can be felt globally through the community action and outreach of the Center and I feel so grateful to be part of this experience."
Kaufmann is looking forward to continuing her passion for sports in college where she plans to study a mix of exercise science, neuroscience, and gender studies, and to continue her study of Spanish.
Paige Richmond received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a psychology minor from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in May of 2020. She was involved with research in the UMass Physical Activity & Health Lab, and completed an honors thesis entitled, “The Effect of Gender Norms on Subjective and Objective Measures of Physical Activity.” As a TC Gender Equity Intern, this summer Richmond worked on a project looking at coach turnover patterns. She also wrote about benevolent sexism in the coaching profession. She said she had an “incredible summer with the Tucker Team.”
“This internship was an extremely unique opportunity where I was able to contribute to meaningful research and focus on my own professional development,” Richmond said. “The experience also affirmed my passion for gender equity and refined my research skills, including literature review and data analysis. I feel prepared and confident heading into my graduate program this fall. I can't thank Dr. LaVoi and the donors enough for allowing me to have this opportunity!"
Richmond will continue her studies at the University of Minnesota in the fall to pursue her Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology where she is interested in the intersection of chronic and infectious disease and using physical activity to prevent disease.
Greta Sirek will be a junior this fall at Middlebury College in Vermont where she is studying neuroscience and global health. Sirek is on the pre-med track, with a specific interest in women’s health and holistic and culturally inclusive healthcare. This summer, she analyzed data and helped write Head Coaches of Women’s Collegiate Teams: A Comprehensive Report on NCAA Division-I Institutions, 2019-20, the latest in the Women in College Coaching Report Card series. Sirek told us how much she enjoyed being part of the Tucker Team.
“I had such an incredible experience as a summer gender equity intern at the Tucker Center,” said Sirek. “Despite the challenges presented by a virtual internship, I truly felt the energy, support, and synergy of the Tucker Center team. From honing my research and data analysis skills, to critical thinking and clear articulation of my ideas, to development of my personal brand and professional development skills, I learned so much from the mentorship of Courtney Boucher and Dr. LaVoi and the Tucker Center team as a whole. This experience solidified my interest in research and the holistic health of girls and women. The research and professional development skills I gained will be very beneficial in my future career path.”
Sirek also noted how she has benefitted from participation in sport all her life, noting that she will continue to run competitively for the Middlebury Cross Country and Track & Field teams this year.
All of our summer interns also worked on creating content and infographics to help disseminate our data and each took over our Twitter and Instagram accounts for a week. Take a look at their work under the hashtag #TCTakeover and follow us on all social media platforms @TuckerCenter.
TC director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi worked with TC affiliated scholars in New Zealand, Dr. Sarah Leberman (Massey University) and Dr. Sally Shaw (University of Otago), to publish an article in May, “As sport resumes after lockdown, it’s time to level the playing field for women and girls,” in The Conversation. The article advocates for changes in rebuilding sports to design in equity.
In June, LaVoi teamed up with scholars, Dr. Nancy Lough (UNLV), Dr. Ann Pegoraro (Guelph University, CANADA), and Dr. Katie Lebel (Ryerson University, CANADA) to publish “The power of women and sport: Changing the default” in the Sports Business Journal. In the article they argue for a new model for women’s sport that would harness the economic power of female fans.
Also in June, LaVoi and Dr. Mary Jo Kane, professor emerita and founder of the Tucker Center, spoke with Women Leaders in College Sports about the impact of Title IX as it approaches its 50th anniversary. The webinar is available for members of Women Leaders in College Sports to view here.
We have announced a formal partnership with WeCOACH, the premier membership organization committed to recruiting, advancing, and retaining women coaches across all sports and levels. The partnership will provide collaborative branding, data collection, and promotion across several research initiatives, including the well-known Women in College Coaching Report Card™ that is co-produced annually. Look for new TC research initiatives to complement WeAMPLIFY—a connection, an action, and a promise to amplify the voices, visibility, experiences, and value of women coaches of color.
Tucker Center affiliated scholar Dr. Sarah Leberman (Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand) was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to women, sport and tertiary education. In 2007, Leberman was a Visiting Senior Fulbright Scholar in the TC. Congratulations!
Dr. Erin Morris, former Tucker Center Summer Intern (‘08), was awarded the Sport Management Education Journal editorial board’s “Sport Management Education Journal Best Paper Award” for 2019 for her contribution with colleagues, “You Study Like a Girl: Experiences of Female Sport Management Students.” Morris is currently an assistant professor of sport management at SUNY Cortland.
Mary Jo Kane, PhD, professor emerita in the School of Kinesiology and founder of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, was featured in the University of Minnesota’s Legacy Magazine’s Summer 2020 issue. The article, “Leveling the Field,” highlights Kane’s groundbreaking work in supporting girls’ and women’s ability to have safe and fair access to sports, and notes her own committed estate gift to the Tucker Center. To help ensure the future work of the Tucker Center, Kane made the estate gift to establish the David and Janie Kane Endowed Tucker Center Director Fund, which honors her late siblings. “David and Janie were incredibly proud of my accomplishments, and the Tucker Center reflects their passions,” Kane says. “This gift is a way to honor their memories and carry forward our family name.”
Our podcast partnership with WISP Sports, Tucker Center Talks, promotes scholars who examine girls and women in sport to a broader audience. Tucker Center director LaVoi hosts the podcast featuring invited guests, timely critiques, the latest research, and dialogue around girls and women in sport. New episodes of Tucker Center Talks drop every other week on our website. Season 2 includes a new #disruptHERS segment with LaVoi, Lebel, Lough, and Pegoraro.
#disruptHERS is a campaign and movement that highlights disruptions to the normative model of sport, a model created by and for men and that privileges men. #disruptHERS draws attention to people, organizations, and events that disrupt the status quo. Join us in drawing attention to disruptions in sport that disrupt the male dominated model, or that benefit women’s sport or female athletes by using the #disruptHERS hashtag in your social media.
In September, LaVoi was a panelist for “Golf’s Cultural Shift: A Global Perspective,” a webinar hosted by the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA).
Like many in-person events, our 2020 Women Coaches Symposium (WCS) was canceled due to COVID-19. We hope to resume this signature event in the future. Stay tuned to updates on our WCS website.
Now that many courses are being taught online, are you looking for online course content related to girls and women in sport, delivered by world-class experts? Then be sure to check out 15 years of Distinguished Lectures in our video archive.
DON’T FORGET TO VOTE ON NOVEMBER 3, 2020 IN THE US GENERAL ELECTION
2020 Tucker Center Fall Distinguished Lecture
Black Women in Sport: Voices of Resistance & Athlete Activism
October 19, 2020 - 7 - 8:30 p.m. [Central Time]
Register for the event webinar here: z.umn.edu/tc-DLS2020
This event is free and open to the public.
About the Lecture
In this current socio-cultural-political moment in U.S. history, athletes in record numbers are using their power and cultural capital to impact social change. However, the voices and actions of Black women and Black female athletes often get erased, silenced, and marginalized in comparison to their White female and male counterparts, as they navigate the game-within-the-game—institutionalized racism, and multiple oppressions at the intersections of racial and gender stereotypes. The purpose of this multidisciplinary panel of experts is to highlight—currently and historically—the power, importance, and voices of resistance of Black women in the fight for social justice in society in general, and sport in particular.
About the Moderator
Dr. Nikki Franke is one of the co-founders of the Black Women In Sport Foundation, a non-profit foundation based in Philadelphia that encourages black women and girls to participate in all areas of sport including coaching and administration. Franke is a Hall of Fame coach who has led the Temple University women’s fencing team for 46 years, and was the USFCA Coach of the Year four times. Franke recently retired as an Associate Professor in Temple University’s Department of Public Health. As a world-class athlete, she can boast a vast array of national and international accomplishments. She was a member of the 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic teams and was the United States Fencing Association's (USFA) National Foil Champion in 1975 and 1980.
About the Panelists
Dr. Akilah Carter-Francique is the Executive Director for the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC) at San Jose State University (SJSU). She is also an Associate Professor at SJSU in the Department of African American Studies. Her scholarly endeavors and field of focus encompass the intersection of sport, society, and social justice. This work is inclusive of issues of diversity, social movements, and the dynamics of social change and development. Carter-Francique is a past President of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), currently serves as a member of Laureus “Sport for Good” Research Council in the United States, and is the co-editor of Athletic Experience at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Past, Present, and Persistence and Critical Race Theory: Black Athletic Experiences in the United States.
Dr. Gyasmine George-Williams is an activist, socio-cultural higher education practitioner, and Assistant Professor at the University of La Verne. She earned her bachelor's in Psychology from California State University, Los Angeles, a master’s in College Counseling and Student Development and master’s in Educational Counseling both from the University of La Verne, and a PhD in Higher Education from Azusa Pacific University. She serves on the Black Scholars Advisory Board, Black Faculty and Staff Association, and is a faculty partner to La Verne's intercollegiate athletics committee. Her research and passion includes athlete and student activism, student-faculty interaction among students of color, women of color in leadership, and critical race theory in higher education. Dr. George-Williams is the founder of GGW Consulting and has created evidenced-based models to honor and center the experiences and leadership of activists of color and disenfranchised groups.
Dr. Joyce Olushola Ogunrinde is an Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance and scholar activist at the University of Houston. She seeks to uncover the ways in which people and communities engage in sport and increase sport’s utility within their communities. As an undergraduate at the University of Florida she was a McNair Scholar, and while completing her master’s in Sport and Recreation at Temple University she worked with the Black Women in Sport Foundation. These experiences inspired her to pursue a PhD in Kinesiology/Sport Management at the University of Texas. The focus of Ogunrinde’s research is to identify the psychosocial effects of sport participation on the long-term personal growth and development of African American adolescents in an effort to redress health, social, and economic disparities. It is her hope to redefine sport and its utility among marginalized groups in the United States and Nigeria.
Dr. Nefertiti Walker is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at UMass Amherst. She is also an Associate Professor of Sport Management in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management. She completed both her BA and MBA from Stetson University and her PhD from the University of Florida. Her area of expertise is sport organizational culture. Specifically, she studies intersectionality, typically of race, gender, and culture, in sport. Dr. Walker is a North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) Research Fellow and serves as a co-director for the Laboratory for Inclusion and Diversity in Sport (LIDS). Most recently, she founded the consulting firm Reculture, which will create multimedia content, research, and industry insights on the changing dynamics of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in sport culture.