AASP Newsletter - January 2021
2020 Mid-Career Institute for Women in Sport: “Let’s Dream Together”
Tanya Prewitt-White, PhD, CMPC, University of Illinois at Chicago
Approximately 17% of women reduce their participation in the US workforce during the mid-career season in their careers (Schneiders, 2017). There are a variety of reasons for this shift that include shifting personal interests along with structural barriers within the workplace. Sport and sport psychology are not immune to the social and political conditions that contribute to women’s reduced participation or shifting interests; further, sport culture may present additional challenges for professional women making it essential that professional organizations provide supportive spaces for women across their career.
To support women during this unique time, the Mid-Career Institute for Women in Sport (MIWS) was created by AASP’s Diversity and Inclusion Division Head in partnership with AASP’s Advocacy Committee, and Diversity Committee. Occurring the week prior to the 2020 AASP Annual Conference, the inaugural MIWS commenced with the theme, “Let’s Dream Together” inspired by Gloria Steinem’s quote, “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. So, let's dream, imagine, and create together.” The intention for MIWS was not only to provide a forum for women to engage in conversation and workshops addressing the complex and unique experiences of mid-career women in sport, but also to create a space of respect, care, honesty, dreaming, and bold imagination. Not only did the women in attendance dream together but they also shared a space of healing and transformation.
Kicking off the institute on Monday, October 12, Dr. Dayanara Marte (Dr. Dee), a social worker and Founder of the World Healing Lab and People of Color Healing Justice Consortium, lovingly shared her wisdom and soul with attendees. Dr. Dee named oppressive elements in institutional structures and systems as well as the daily experiences of women that keep women from “showing up for their dreams” and leading powerfully without apology. Moreover, Dr. Dee encouraged attendees to consider if they “are the gatekeeper or if they are opening the gates” for all women. The time she shared with attendees was viscerally empowering and set the tone for a healing and connected virtual space for the remainder of MIWS.
On Tuesday, October 13, Dr. Nicole Linen moderated the discussion, “Women of the Color in the Workplace.” Drs. Kensa Gunter, Lani Lawrence and Lauren Morimoto generously shared their journeys of “being the only one in spaces” whether that be working in professional sports, leading in the field, or in academic settings. Moreover, each panelist named their experience of trailblazing, with all its tribulations and highs, for future generations.
Wednesday began with the panel, “Mothering in the Middle” where Drs. Jennifer Waldron and Tanya Prewitt-White provided their joys and challenges of mothering as mid-career professionals as well as how they experience mothering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Waldron emphasized the joy and importance of play while mothering as well as its healing effects from the responsibilities and pressures of professional life. Dr. Prewitt-White expressed the need to surrender her expectations of how life would look, and how professional goals would be met in 2020 due to the realities of COVID.
The second panel was entitled, “The Self as a Site of Resistance” where Xemi Tapepechul, Dr. Carole Oglesby, and Dr. Leeja Carter openly shared their journeys of self-love as acts of self-justice. Each panelist shared their practices and ways of caring for themselves first while they serve others in their professions. Thursday and Friday had two workshops facilitated by Tanya St. Julien, Chief of Staff at Leadership for Educational Equity, entitled “Entrepreneurship, Financial Planning, and Wellness,” where Ms. Julien supported attendees in unseating business and project ideas and creating space for taking those ideas with them into the future.
The MIWS was thoughtfully planned by Drs. Leeja Carter, Sae-Mi Lee, Nicole Linen, Terilyn Shigeno, and Tanya Prewitt-White. The MIWS occurs biennially and received very positive feedback with the planning committee looking forward to holding the next MIWS in 2022 and welcoming more women to the institute.
Schnieders, A. (2017, October 12). Why companies lose 17 percent of women employees at mid-career. Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/300533