The Government of Canada has set a target to achieve gender equity in sport at every level by 2035.
Working to accomplish this goal are Brock University Sport Management (SPMA) researchers Dawn Trussell and Shannon Kerwin who have each been appointed research co-leads for the scientific committee of the newly launched National Gender+ Equity in Sport Research Hub.
“This announcement has been years in the making,” says Trussell, Associate Professor of Sport Management. “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with nine other esteemed colleagues across Canada to advance gender+ equity in the Canadian sport system and reimagining a sport landscape where girls, women and genderfluid people can participate and flourish in their practice.”
The National Gender+ Equity in Sport Research Hub is funded by Sport Canada and was officially launched on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The knowledge sharing hub is led by three co-directors, Gretchen Kerr (University of Toronto), Guylaine Demers (Université Laval) and Ann Pegoraro (University of Guelph) and is guided by a scientific committee of scholars from across the country who are committed to advancing gender+ equity in sport in Canada by using evidence-based solutions to close the gender gap in sport.
“Gender+ recognizes that gender is not an identity experienced on its own. In order to achieve equity in sport, we must understand individuals as wholes with multiple, simultaneous identities,” says Trussell. “The collaborations taking place among the scientific committee members who represent research expertise on diverse social identities including indigeneity, race, disability, LGBTQ2S+ have been so valuable.”
Led by Trussell and Kerwin, with Applied Health Sciences master’s students Amanda Lyn (BKin ’19) and Laura Lozinski (BSM ’20), the Brock team recently completed a thematic review of the last 20 years of gender and participation research to identify trends and outline gaps.
“Through this review, we are helping the Hub build a single database of research associated with understanding the nature of the experiences of women and girls in different sporting roles and forms of sport participation,” Kerwin says. “The findings we have generated suggest research must adopt transformational interdisciplinary frameworks that connect research to social and political action.”
The Brock findings and contributions are now one of the building blocks informing a new call to fund research proposals to support gender equity and sport research initiatives expected to be released in early 2021.
“Our commitment is to a three-year term,” Trussell says. “The next two years will not only be focused on commissioning, delivering and supporting innovative research projects, but it is an incredible opportunity to enhance training for the next generation of scholars and practitioners who are interested in this field of study.”
Trussell and Kerwin’s appointment continues to build on the momentum and leadership that Brock’s SPMA and Centre for Sport Capacity have been gaining since the 2019 Women in Sport and Leadership Forum, a milestone event that inspired the student-led initiative Sport Helps Everyone Make Allies, which aims to empower women and diverse social groups in the sport industry through fostering an inclusive, accepting and supportive environment for students in the SPMA program.
“There is a collective group of faculty members and students at Brock interested in enhancing and promoting an understanding of gender equity in sport,” says Kerwin, Associate Professor of Sport Management. “This work is enabling us to bring on more members of the Brock community to contribute to addressing the systematic delivery of sport to a more representative groups of girls, women and genderfluid people. Broader macro-level change must occur for equity to be felt at the individual level of our system.”