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Amplifying Their Voices: Empowering Girls and Women in Sport

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Session length is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Rob Owens, EdD, University of Western States 
Emma Randall, MS, Beat the Streets New York City Wrestling

Participation in sport and physical activity has many positive outcomes for girls and women including positive mental health and physical well-being, decreased risk for the development of chronic diseases in later life, and greater educational attainment (Women’s Sport Foundation, 2009). Despite global efforts to increase participation in sport, the number of girls and women who participate in sport and physical activity is lower than boys and men’s (Women Win, 2009). Moreover, the barriers girls and women encounter in sport are multi-layered, contextual, and intersect with race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, religious faith, and other social identities. Despite the challenges, there is growing support for girls and women in sports like rugby, equestrian, and wrestling.  For instance, the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) report the number of girls participating in wrestling at the high school level has grown from 804 in 1994 to 16,562 in 2018; and 63 colleges and universities sponsor varsity wrestling programs for women.  Emma and Rob will present an evidenced-based approach to empowering women and girls in sport that is supported by the research on self-determination (Shen et al., 2019), and social justice empowerment (Carter, 2019; Dagkas, 2016; Gearity & Metzger, 2017). To this end, the webinar will consist of three sections. In the first section, Rob will draw from intersectional, transnational feminist frameworks to highlight how athletes’ identities and experiences in sport are shaped through interactions with players, coaches, fans, and the media. In the second section, Emma will discuss her experiences as a wrestler, wrestling coach, and her current work with Beat the Streets a grassroots organization that uses the sport of wrestling to develop the full human and athletic potential of the urban youth. In the third section, Emma and Rob will provide recommendations for practitioners engaging in advocacy and seeking to empower girls and women within sport and physical activity settings.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify existing barriers in sport for women and girls.
  • Apply feminist theories to contextualize the sporting experiences of girls and women.
  • Support athletes’ self-determination and self-worth.
  • Incorporate coaching strategies that create a safe and open environment.
  • Promote diversity and inclusion within combat sports like wrestling.
  • Organize social justice initiatives in sport that follow a scientist-practitioner model.

Continuing Education Credit
K8: Diversity & Culture; Required CE area – Diversity
1.25 CE Credits


Students – $25.00

Members – $35.00

Non-members – $50.00

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