Women's sport was set to be the forefront of conversation and action in 2020 before the pandemic halted the industry. Now, we have a chance to see real issues make gains, like the gender pay gap, but we must also tackle the issue of sports for youth girls as well. Over the years, girls participation in sport has been dropping faster than the rate of boys. Access, safety and health concerns have always been an issue named in the decline of participation, but what will the longterm impact of COVID-19 be moving forward? We need to begin building better solutions to keep girls in sport and keep women's sport on the rise.
Joining the conversation:
Phaidra Knight | President of Women's Sports Foundation, World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee, Lawyer and Entrepreneur
Phaidra Knight, J.D. is Women’s Sports Foundation President, World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee, sports media talent, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and mixed martial artist. One of the premier players in the sport of rugby, she made three appearances in the Rugby World Cup, was selected as the top player in the world in two different positions, was named the USA Rugby Player of the Decade in 2010, and became the first African American and eighth woman inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. In 2017, Knight was named head coach of the newly formed Monroe College women’s rugby team in the Bronx, New York, and she has served as a director and coach of Play Rugby USA, the premier Olympic nonprofit dedicated to reaching kids in underserved communities in New York. Read more on Phaidra Knight
Dr. Jen Welter, NFL’s First Female Coach | Speaker | GrrridIron Girls Founder | First Female Coach in Madden| First Female Running Back in Men’s Pro Football | Author | Motion and Emotion Pioneer
Dr. Jen Welter is a groundbreaking, barrier-busting force of nature. She is a female trailblazer, a sports pioneer, PhD, passionate leader, world-renowned speaker, entrepreneur and source of inspiration around the globe. Her relentless pursuit of individual excellence and success in challenging the status quo time and time again, fuels her current drive to help others achieve their best—in sports, health and wellness, professional pursuits and in life.She is driven by the belief that “Greatness is a choice you make over and over. And when you choose personal greatness—big or small—it becomes a part of who you are.” In every realm she tackles, Dr. Jen is a game changer, bringing vision, power and purpose to her mission of breaking the chains of what has always been and redefining what is and will be.She tackled her football career with fearless tenacity and an unprecedented track record of pioneering firsts. Building on her remarkable career in women’s football, that included 2 Gold medals with Team USA, 4 World Championships and 8 All-Star selections, Dr. Jen busted into the men’s game, as the first female running back signed to a men’s professional team. Blending her passion for the game with a powerful, unique communication style, she broke through the biggest boys club of all, the NFL, as the first female coach in the league and the Madden NFL20 video game. Crystallizing her journey into a playbook for overall success, she published“Play Big, Lessons in Living Limitless from the First Woman to Coach in the NFL.” Read more on Dr. Jen Welter
Alaina Zanin, PhD | Assistant Professor of Organizational and Health Communications
Alaina C. Zanin (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is an assistant professor of organizational and health communication at Arizona State University. Her research interests include identity negotiation in non-traditional organizational contexts like sport teams, particularly in relation to gender disparities and inequity. Her work is published in journals, such as Small Group Research, the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Qualitative Health Research, Communication and Sport, and Management Communication Quarterly.
Vera Lopez, PhD | Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation
Vera Lopez is a professor of justice and social inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She received an MA in Program Evaluation and a PhD in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She also completed a one-year child clinical research internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a two-year NIMH-funded research postdoctoral fellowship at ASU's Prevention Research Center (now REACH Institute), and a clinical internship at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Correction's Black Canyon Correctional School for girls. In 2009, Lopez was selected from a national competition to be a visiting scholar at the University of Houston's Center for Mexican American Studies where she spent the 2009-2010 academic year conducting research on Mexican American girls' relationship power, trust, and infidelity. Currently, Lopez is beginning a new research project on Latina girls and sports, which is funded by a seed grant from the ASU Global Sport Institute. To date, Lopez has conducted focus groups with 78 Latina girls and intensive interviews with 10 coaches. Data collection is ongoing.
Victoria Jackson, PhD | Sports Historian and Clinical Assistant Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University.
Victoria Jackson is a sports historian and Clinical Assistant Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. Jackson writes and speaks about the intersection of sport and society, exploring how the games we play (and watch) tell us much about the communities – local, national, and global – in which we live. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Slate, Letras Libres, Epoca, and The Independent, and she is a frequent podcast, radio, TV, and documentary film commentator on sport and society. Jackson teaches a package of sports history courses, which form part of an interdisciplinary, liberal arts undergraduate certificate in “sports, cultures, and ethics.” She is writing a book on privilege and power in American big-time college sports, connecting race and gender justice issues through stories of athlete activism, and exploring how black athlete labor pays for white athlete privilege. She is affiliated faculty with the Global Sport Institute at ASU. Read more on Victoria Jackson