Sport for Development and Peace: research on girls, girlhood and young women


Sport for Development and Peace: research on girls, girlhood and young women

Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics

To mark the Girl Power in Play symposium, the upcoming 10 paper special issue on "Sport for Development and Peace", edited by Megan Chawansky and Lyndsay Hayhurst and published in Sport in Society later this year, is currently free to access. The issue will look at sport for development and peace research on girls, girlhood and young women. Readers are encouraged to explore the 10 papers available here. Below is a collection of abstracts and links to three highlighted papers.

The papers are available to download throughout June.

  1. Caitlin Davis Fisher & Jane Dennehy (2015): Body projects: making, remaking, and inhabiting the woman's futebol body in Brazil


: Drawing on data from an experiential ethnographic project undertaken in Brazil, this paper explores how gender is being experienced and negotiated by women football players within the context of the game’s incorporation into Western capitalism. Acceptance of women into this historically male sport is growing and opportunities are increasing, but access is heavily contingent on compliance with a new ‘hyper-femininised’ ideal of Western athletic femininity. Through empirical data, we look at the embodied experiences of a small cohort of professional women football players as they navigate this shifting terrain in Brazil. This paper explores the discrepancies between representation and lived experience and the implications for agency, empowerment, and self-expression among players as they confront new forms of constraint being imposed on their bodies. Through this microcosm of women’s football, we get a glimpse at how global restructuring along the lines of Western capitalist development is affecting bodies and minds.

  1. Sumaya F. Samie, Alicia J. Johnson, Ashleigh M. Huffman & Sarah J. Hillyer (2015): Voices of empowerment: women from the Global South re/negotiating empowerment and the global sports mentoring programme


The topic of women’s empowerment in the Global South not only dominates gender and development programming but continues to be at the forefront of political concerns about the status and position of women across the ‘developing world’. Increasingly, it is being championed as an essential ‘developmental goal’ of northern-led sport for development and peace and sport, gender and development initiatives. Using the US Department of State supported ‘Global Sports Mentoring Program’ (GSMP) as a case study, this paper centralises the perceptions and experiences of empowerment, agency and voice as expressed by 27 women from 22 countries across the Global South before and during their participation in the 2012 and 2013 programmes. Findings illustrate the multiple ways in which women fought for, negotiated and asserted power within their lives, and the degree to which their pre-GSMP thoughts on female empowerment were broadened, challenged and positively or negatively impacted.

  1. Marianne Meier (2015): The value of female sporting role models


: Historical and sociocultural associations between sport and masculinity still determine the predominance of male ‘sporting role models’ (SRMs) in many parts of the world. The lack of female SRMs is one common theme among Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) publications. This article features potential benefits of available and relevant female SRMs in general and for SDP in particular. Findings from African case studies help to contextualise the theoretical concepts presented. Moreover, assumed functions and claims attributed to well-known top sportswomen or recreational female coaches are categorised. Different types and attributes of SRMs are identified which may enable SDP programmes to further enhance gender equity and empowerment. Thereby, key issues such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, patriarchy, type of sports, patriotism, and media coverage are considered.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


Article type



Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics




Megan Chawansky and Lyndsay Hayhurst


Thursday, June 4, 2015 - 23:00