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.
Maryam Marashi, Sabrina Malouka, Tahla den Houdyker, and Catherine M. Sabiston
Alyssa Abreu, Jessica Thompson, Danielle N. Cofield, Mark D. Faries, and Eric J. Jones
Physical inactivity is common among women and a quarter of college-aged women are classified as overweight or obese, making this population an important target for obesity prevention. Fitness testing is commonplace, and practitioners can hold an underlying belief that discrepancies will promote positive responses. However, little research has examined the affective responses to fitness testing in adults. The purpose of this study was to assess the affective responses to common fitness testing, while examining relationships to physical self to help elucidate why some respond to such testing and others do not. Forty-eight college-aged women were presented with their discrepancy from a normative standard across six fitness tests. Findings support previous conceptualizations on discrepancies and affective responses, in that greater negative discrepancies from normative standards were associated with greater changes in negative feeling states. In addition, the results suggest that only certain discrepancies pose a threat to perceived satisfaction with one’s physical self (i.e., self-concept)—mainly though subdomains related to body appearance and aerobic fitness. In other words, the greater the perceived satisfaction of self, the greater negative emotional response was experienced to the specific test discrepancy. The notation of “threats” to important domains of self-concept might help explain why fitness testing that alerts individuals where they are discrepant produce behavioral changes in some but not others. Professionals should consider the impact of providing fitness test discrepancies on negative affective responses, with the possible impact on motivation and future behavior choices to reduce the discrepancy.
Dian Listiarini, Wara Kushartanti, and Novita Intan Arovah
While the role of exercise in managing obesity has been suggested, little is known about the effect of caffeine supplementation in the exercise program on body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (%BF), and cholesterol. This research compared the effect of aerobic exercise with and without caffeine on BMI, %BF, and cholesterol level in obese Asian women. Twenty-seven participants were randomly allocated into three groups, which were an aerobic exercise without caffeine (A; n = 9), an aerobic exercise with 3 mg/body weight—caffeine (AC; n = 9), and a control group (C; n = 9). The exercise was a 45-min exercise training at 60%–75% maximum heart rate conducted three times weekly for 8 weeks. The mixed-method repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess the effect of treatments and time (i.e., pretest and posttest) on the outcome measures, followed by simple effect analyses with Bonferroni correction. While there was a significant improvement in BMI and %BF from the pretest to posttest, this was superseded by a time-by-treatment interaction effect. For the time-by-treatment interaction, the cholesterol levels in the A and AC groups were significantly lower than in C, suggesting that the benefit of the exercise program is most evident in controlling cholesterol. In conclusion, the 3 mg/kg body weight caffeine does not appear to provide additional benefit in the 8-week moderate-intensity aerobic exercise session in improving BMI, %BF, and cholesterol among obese Asian women. Further research with higher caffeine dosage and larger and more heterogenous sample sizes is recommended to confirm the findings.
Iris A. Lesser, Stéphanie Turgeon, Carl P. Nienhuis, and Corliss Bean
Postpartum physical activity can positively impact mental and physical health. There is a need to better understand how physical activity is related to various psychological constructs to support physical activity in postpartum women. Thus, the purpose of this exploratory, quantitative, study was to examine differences between postpartum women who were physically active and those who were physically inactive on psychological (e.g., self-compassion) and mental health constructs. Five hundred twenty-five women (M age = 28.4) completed an online survey. Participants who reported being active following the birth of their last child had significantly higher exercise self-efficacy, self-compassion, and basic psychological needs fulfillment for exercise and significantly lower levels of perceived fatigue, anxiety, and depression compared with their inactive counterparts. However, active mothers had lower body satisfaction than inactive mothers. Women who are active after the birth of a child have improved psychological constructs that may benefit overall well-being and mental health during this challenging transition.
Yvette L. Figueroa and Emily A. Roper
Women’s involvement in sport has been replete with challenges at all levels. In a similar vein, women in strength and conditioning (S&C) encounter workplace challenges at all levels. Given the lack of representation of women in S&C, it is important to delve into the potential contributing factors. The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of women’s experiences in S&C. A total of 19 female S&C coaches at the collegiate level participated in our study. Participants were interviewed individually by both investigators via Zoom video calls using a semistructured interview guide. An overwhelming interest in participation among female S&C coaches allowed for interviews to be performed past the stage of saturation. Career experience among participants ranged from 4 to 26 years (M = 12.87 years). Results uncovered five central themes: (a) entrance into the S&C field and navigating a male-dominated culture, (b) appearance and presentation, (c) pressure to hire women, (d) support community and mentorship, and (e) family. Despite the perceived barriers described by these women, all participants stressed the love and passion each has for their career. The implications of this study are vital for administrators and athletic directors to advocate for greater representation of women in S&C and associated leadership positions.
Emily Carol Stets
Title IX specifies that “no person” shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex. Yet, advocacy groups and state legislators have debated transgender girls’ and women’s right to participate in sports teams consistent with their gender identity. Such entities employ misguided research about testosterone’s role in sports, assert that transgender girls displace cisgender girls in sports, and weaponize gender verification against transgender girls. Title IX’s original intent catalyzes access for all young people in sports, regardless of gender identity. A review of the historical underpinnings of the regulatory policy driving Title IX’s implementation, leading up to the Biden administration’s current efforts to assess Title IX’s application to sports, underscores the path to the truest implementation of Title IX. The regulatory mechanisms establishing Title IX implementation compel maximization of sport opportunities for all girls and women, which includes trans girls and women.