Advocating for Gender Equity in Sport: An Analysis of the Canadian Women and Sport She’s Got It All Campaign

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

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Maryam MarashiFaculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

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Sabrina MaloukaFaculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

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Tahla den HoudykerFaculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

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Catherine M. SabistonFaculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

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Despite increasing access to sport and exercise opportunities, girls and women in Canada continue to face gender disparity in sport participation. Several media campaigns have emerged to address this disparity and advocate for gender equity in sport. However, there is little understanding or evaluation of the content of these media campaigns. Informed by sport participation research, the She’s Got It All campaign was designed to highlight the challenges and intersecting disadvantages that girls and women face in sport. The purpose of the current study was to assess the textual and visual content of this campaign. The posters (N = 48) were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis (text) and deductive content analysis (visual) to identify the characteristics of the images and the themes in the messages. Based on the thematic analysis, seven main themes pertaining to girls’ and women’s barriers to sport participation are identified including physiology, gendered social behaviors, intrapersonal beliefs, environmental contexts, stereotypes, female representation, and interpersonal support. Based on the content analysis, most of the models presented in the posters are perceived as White and average-sized adult women, with visible muscle definition, slightly or nonrevealing clothing, and performing an individual sport. The poster visual and text material seem to miss opportunities to highlight the experiences of girls and women identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), and others and those classified as lower socioeconomic status. These findings provide foundational information for future research and media campaign designed to target gender equity in sport.

Seven main themes pertaining to girls’ and women’s barriers to sport participation were identified in the campaign including physiology, gendered social behaviors, intrapersonal beliefs, environmental contexts, stereotypes, female representation, and interpersonal support.

Majority of the models presented in the posters are perceived as White and average-sized adult women, with visible muscle definition, slightly or nonrevealing clothing, and performing an individual sport.

Future campaigns may benefit from including more images of youth athletes and athletes of diverse body sizes, and highlighting barriers related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), and others identity and socioeconomic status.

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