#USportsSoMale: Gender (In)equity in Canadian Interuniversity Varsity Sport
Keywords:gender, equity, Canada, university, sport, women, coach
Herein we examine the current state of gender (in)equity within Canadian interuniversity varsity sport (U SPORTS). In so doing, we build upon the previous work of Canada’s Centre for Sport Policy Studies at University of Toronto (see Norman et al., 2021). In our examination, we accessed all 56 U SPORTS universities’ Department of Athletics official webpages. We investigated the opportunities for women to participate as student-athletes on U SPORTS interuniversity varsity sport teams as well as opportunities for women to serve as sport leaders as their universities’ Directors of Athletics (DAs) and head coaches. Our findings suggest the current situation in Canadian universities remains bleak. We also argue that immediate attention and action is needed—by multiple potential stakeholders—for meaningful change to occur. Finally, considering these findings, we offer suggestions for moving forward and creating change.
Beaubier, D. (2004). Athletic gender equity policy in Canadian universities. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 34(1), 1–13.
Burke, M. (2010). A feminist reconstruction of liberal rights and sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 37(1), 11–28. https://doi.org/10.1080/00948705.2010.9714763
Burton, L. J., & LaVoi, N. M. (2016). An ecological/multisystem approach to understanding and examining women coaches. In N. M. LaVoi (Ed.), Women in sports coaching (pp. 49–62). Routledge.
Campbell, A. (2021). Equity education initiatives within Canadian universities: Promise and limits. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 25(2), 51–61. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603108.2019.1631226
Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Institute. (2022). Participation in sport. CFLRI’s bulletin series monitoring sport and recreation in Canada. https://cflri.ca/bulletin-1-sport-participation-canada
Canadian Heritage. (2009). Actively engaged: A policy on sport for women and girls. https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/sport-policies-acts-regulations/policy-actively-engaged-women-girls.html
Canadian Heritage. (2021). Supporting gender equality in sport.
Canadian Women & Sport. (2022a). About. https://womenandsport.ca/about/
Canadian Women & Sport. (2022b). Gender equity. https://womenandsport.ca/gender-equity/what-is-gender-equity/
Compton, N. H., & Compton, J. D. (2010). How Title IX and proportionality population concepts have equalized collegiate women’s sports programs with men’s sports and allows spillover gains for women in the workplace. Forum on Public Policy Online, 2010(2). Retrieved from ERIC database (EJ903584).
Cunningham, G. B., & Nite, C. (2020). LGBT diversity and inclusion, community characteristics, and success. Journal of Sport Management, 34(6), 533–541. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsm.2019-0338
Danylchuk, K. E., & MacLean, J. (2001). Intercollegiate athletics in Canadian universities: Perspectives on the future. Journal of Sport Management, 15(4), 364–379.
Donnelly, P. (2013). Sport participation. In L. Thibault & J. Harvey (Eds.), Sport policy in Canada (pp. 177–213). University of Ottawa Press.
Donnelly, P., Kidd, B., & Norman, M. (2011). Gender equity in Canadian interuniversity sport: A biennial report. Centre for Sport Policy Studies.
Donnelly, P., Norman, M., & Kidd, B. (2013). Gender equity in Canadian interuniversity sport: A biennial report (No. 2). Centre for Sport Policy Studies.
Fink, J. S. (2015). Female athletes, women’s sport, and the sport media commercial complex: Have we really “come a long way, baby”? Sport Management Review, 18(3), 331–342. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2014.05.001
Finn, H. (2022) Exploring the underrepresentation of women coaches in Canadian university sport [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Western University.
Full profiles of Canadian universities. (2022, November 18). Maclean’s. https://www.macleans.ca/university-profiles/
Hattery, A. J. (2012). They play like girls: Gender and race (In)equity in NCAA Sports. Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy, 2(1), 247–265.
Hattery, A., Smith, E., & Staurowsky, E. (2007). They play like girls: Gender equity in NCAA
Sports. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 1(3), 249–271. https://doi.org/10.1179/ssa.2007.1.3.249
Hoeber, L. (2007). Exploring the gaps between meanings and practices of gender equity in a sport organization. Gender, Work and Organization, 14(3), 259–280. https://doi/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2007.00342.x
Hoeber, L. (2008). Gender equity for athletes: Multiple understandings of an organizational value. Sex Roles, 58(1), 58–71. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9320-3
Kamphoff, C. S., Armentrout, S. M., & Driska, A. (2010). The token female: Women’s experiences as Divisions I collegiate head coaches of men’s teams. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 3(2), 297–315. https://doi.org/10.1123/jis.3.2.297
LaVoi, N. M., & Dutove, J. K. (2012). Barriers and supports for female coaches: An ecological model. Sports Coaching Review, 1(1), 17–37. https://doi.org/10.1080/21640629.2012.695891
LaVoi, N. M., McGarry, J. E., Fisher, L. A. (2019). Final thoughts on women in sport coaching: Fighting the war. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 27(2), 136–140 https://doi.org/10.1123/wspaj.2019-0030
LaVoi, N. M., & Silva-Breen, N. M. (2022). Longitudinal analysis of head coach employee turnover on women’s NCAA D-I teams. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 15(1), 1¬–27. https://doi.org.10.17161/jis.v15i1.15738
Lopiano, D. A. (2014). It's time for the NCAA and other educational sport governance organizations to get serious about gender equity. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 85(2), 6–7. https://doi.org/10.1080/07303084.2014.866784
Norman, M., Donnelly, P., & Kidd, B. (2021). Gender inequality in Canadian interuniversity sport: Participation opportunities and leadership positions from 2010–11 to 2016–17. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 13(2), 207–223. https://doi.org/10.1080/19406940.2020.1834433
Ponic, P. L. (2001). A herstory, a legacy: The Canadian amateur sport branch’s women’s program. Avante, 6(2), 51–63.
Réseau de sport étudiant du Québec. (2021, January 20). Le RSEQ en action pour
L’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion. http://rseq.ca/lerseq/manchettes/le-rseq-en-action-pour-l%C3%A9quit%C3%A9,-la-diversit%C3%A9-et-linclusion/
Réseau de sport étudiant du Québec. (2022). Codes and documentation. http://rseq.ca/ethiquesportive/codesetdocumentation/
Safai, P. (2013). Women in sport policy. In L. Thibault & J. Harvey (Eds.), Sport policy in Canada (pp. 317–349). University of Ottawa Press.
Staurowsky, E. J., & Weight, E. A. (2011). Title IX legacy: What coaches don’t know and need to find out. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 4(2), 190–209.
True Sport. (2022). Power of sport: The True Sport report 2022.
U SPORTS. (2019a). Policies and procedures. https://usports.ca/uploads/hq/By_Laws-Policies-Procedures/2019/EN/Policy_80.50_to_80.100_Administration_%282019-2020%29.pdf
U SPORTS. (2019b). U SPORTS strategic plan 2019–2024.
U SPORTS. (2022a). U SPORTS history. https://usports.ca/en/about/history
U SPORTS. (2022b). Playing regulations. https://usports.ca/hq/playing-regulations
U SPORTS. (2022c). 2020/2021 annual report.
UN Women. (2020). COVID-19, women, girls and sport: Build back better.
Wasend, M., & LaVoi, N. M. (2019). Are women coached by women more likely to become sport coaches? Head coach gender and female collegiate athletes’ entry into the coaching profession. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 27(2), 85–93. https://doi.org.10.1123/wspaj.2018-0043
White, P. G., McTeer, W. G., & Curtis, J. E. (2013). Academic attainment and Canadian intercollegiate athletics: Temporal shifts: Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 7(3), 168–189. https://doi.org/10.1179/1935739713Z.00000000011
Williams, M. (2013). A pragmatic solution for gender equity in Canadian elite sport. International Sports Law Journal, 12, 18–34. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40318-013-0015-3
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Daniel B. Robinson, Charlene Weaving, Christa Spicer
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright is held by the authors.