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Lynda B. Ransdell and Christine L. Wells

Do women out-perform men in endurance sports? Are women as strong, pound for pound, as men? Many questions have been raised about the ability of women and men to perform physical tasks equally well. The issue of sex differences and similarities in performance has considerable significance today as women seek physically demanding careers in police-work, fire-fighting, the military, industry, and athletics. As more women participate in recreational and career opportunities formerly open only to men, knowledge about sex differences in response to physical exertion and training becomes increasingly important. In this paper we describes differences between the sexes in athletic performance.

Most performance differences are due to variations in morphological (structural) or physiological characteristics typical of women and men (Wells, 1991). Nevertheless, variations in these characteristics are often as large or larger within each sex as they are between the sexes. The same is true of physical performance. Thus, when the entire population is considered, there are extensive differences in performance within each sex, and considerable overlap in performance between the sexes.

We will base our examination of performance differences on the most outstanding performances of each sex: those exemplified by World Records in athletic events. We seek to answer such questions as: How large are sex differences in world record performances? Can existing performance differences be explained entirely by biological differences between the sexes? Or, are a large portion of these performance differ-ences attributable to sociocultural factors?

We will analyze sex differences in performance relative to the human energy system. This system allows an extraordinary range of mechanisms for neuromuscular coordination and metabolism. Because of this, the human has a virtually unlimited movement repertoire and is capable of movements requiring large bursts of energy over very brief periods of time, as well as movements requiring low levels of energy production over very long periods of time. We will progress from sports that require very high intensity and explosive quality movements such as jumping and power lifting, through the “energy spectrum” to feats of endurance such as marathon running, ultra-distance triathlon, and open-water distance swimming.

Due to our desire to focus this paper on a reasonable amount of data, our analysis will be limited as follows:

1) for sex differences in high intensity-brief duration, explosive per-formance, we will discuss the high jump, long jump, and various mea-sures of strength (powerlifting),

2) for sex differences in high intensity-short duration performance, we will present data on sprint running (100m, 400m) and swimming (100m),

3) for sex differences in moderate intensity-moderate duration performance, we will discuss middle-distance running (1500m, 5000m, 10,000m), and swimming (1500m), and

4) for differences in low intensity-long duration performance, we will discuss the marathon, the "Ironman Triathlon," and open ocean distance swimming.

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Lynda B. Ransdell and Christine L. Wells

Women’s running has made significant gains during the past century. The Feminine Sportive Federation International, an international organization for women in sport, was an early advocate for women’s running. They lobbied for the inclusion of 5 new women’s events in the 1928 Olympics, the longest of which was 800 meters. Unfortunately, some competitors in the 800 m event collapsed, providing “rationale” for excluding women from distance racing (Noakes, 1991). Later, the 800 meter event was re-introduced in the 1960 Olympics, and so the interest in “women’s distance running” was re-kindled. Women continued to call for greater challenges, and eventually in 1972, they were officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon (Noakes, 1991). Today, distances of 5,10, and 42 kilometers make up the majority of road races throughout the country. These events are not limited to top-flight women athletes racing for fame and fortune or a chance to represent America in the Olympic Games. Rather, thousands of women—of all shapes, running styles and fitness levels—enter these weekend races, most with little hope of winning a prize.

Currently, women runners are recognized at the national level as “open” (any age) or “masters” (40 years of age and older) competitors. This separation is important because performance varies with age. How age affects performance depends upon a number of factors including overall health, injury status, training, and genetic endowment. Considerable individual variability exists, but at some point in middle-age, performance declines. Although equal performance is not likely from outstanding 45 year old and 25 year old competitors, each may be considered an “elite” performer when competition is separated into age groups. The separation of athletes into masters and open categories and further into age groups results in opportunities for many to receive recognition, and for competitors to set and achieve goals relative to their age. Age-group competition has attracted thousands and thousands of “new” runners and encouraged former competitors to “stay with it for a few more years.”

Very little is known about women who run at the “masters” level. There is general information about how aging affects the male athlete’s performance, but little information about how aging affects women’s performances. This paper is a review of the literature on masters women runners and a description of 1) their physical and physiological characteristics, 2) their performance, 3) their performance decline with advancing age, and 4) the health related benefits of physical activity.

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Lynda B. Ransdell, Mary K. Dinger, Jennifer Huberty, Kim Miller and Myung-Ah Lee

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Lynda B. Ransdell, Stacy Beske, Coleen Cooke and Mary Dinger

The purpose of this paper is to answer three questions related to authorship trends in movement science journals: 1) Do movement science journals publish significant numbers of articles by women?, 2) How does the rate of publication by women in movement science journals compare to that in other fields?, and 3) Has the number of journal articles published by women in the movement sciences changed throughout 1990’s (1991-1996)? Six movement science journals were selected for inclusion in this study. Two trained investigators conducted hand searches of journals and frequency counts were performed for the total number of authors and articles, and the gender of the first through fourth authors. Percentage of women authors was ascertained using the following formula: [total number of women authors / total number of authors] × 100. Percentage of articles in which a woman made a contribution was calculated as follows: [number of articles with at least I woman author / total number of articles] × 100. Number of articles with a woman as first, second, third, or fourth author was calculated by counting individual authors and their order of authorship. The journal that published the highest percentage of women authors or articles with women contributors was the Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, followed by Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and Quest. The journals that published the largest number of articles by women were Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and The Physician and Sportsmedicine. Trends in publication by gender have not changed considerably between 1991-1996. In comparison to journals in other scientific disciplines, exercise science journals publish a comparable proportion of articles by women.

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Lynda B. Ransdell, Mary K. Dinger, Stacy Beske and Colleen Cooke

The purpose of this paper is to examine factors related to success in academic publishing for women in exercise science. Two trained investigators conducted hand searches of 7 prominent exercise science journals to ascertain the names of the most prolific women authors between 1991 and 1996. Seventeen (17) women, whose names will not be revealed (due to confidentiality), were identified. Following their identification, women were asked to submit a copy of their vita and complete a questionnaire related to scholarly productivity. Thirteen out of seventeen women agreed to participate in the study, yielding a response rate of 76%. Personal attributes that contributed most to their success in publishing were self-motivation, discipline, and perseverance. Situational or sociological factors mentioned were the availability of mentors, talented collaborators, and institutional or personal support. Some tips for maximizing productivity include having proper preparation and a narrow focus, and developing skills in writing, research design, and analysis. Women reported many gender-related barriers early in their careers, but these barriers faded with experience and reputation establishment. The two most frequent recommendations for ensuring successful collaborations with others were completing work in a timely fashion and being a team player. Sacrifices made for publishing included fewer social interactions and less time for leisure activities and vacations. With the exception of some barriers related to gender, our findings are in agreement with others who have examined correlates of productivity in mixed samples of men and women from a variety of fields.

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Lynda B. Ransdell, Sarah Toevs, Jennifer White, Shelley Lucas, Jean L. Perry, Onie Grosshans, Diane Boothe and Sona Andrews

In higher education in the United States, women are often underrepresented in leadership positions. When women try administration, they face a higher rate of attrition than their male counterparts. Given the lack of women in leadership positions and the failure of the academy to retain women administrators, a group of women administrators and faculty with many collective years of experience in higher education assembled to write this paper. Our writing group consisted of 2 Chairs, 2 Deans, 1 Associate Dean, 2 pre-tenure faculty members, and a Provost, representing four different institutions. The authors of this paper suggest that applying the proposed model of transformational leadership within the field of Kinesiology may have a two-fold benefit. It may increase the number of women in administrative positions and it may extend how long women choose to serve in an administrative capacity. Components of the model include developing personal and professional characteristics that motivate faculty to perform beyond expectations, and understanding gender-related and kinesiology-specific challenges of administration. In addition, recommendations are made for pursuing careers in administration, and for pursuing future research projects. We hope that through this paper, we have started an important and open discussion about women in leadership roles, and ultimately, encouraged some prospective leaders to consider a career in higher education administration.