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“Playing it Forward: 50 years of Women and Sport in Canada.”

Graduate Studies


Former Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Sandra Kirby, along with Guylaine Demers, Lorraine Greaves, and Marion Lay has released a new book with The Feminist History Society; the fourth in its series focussing on the women’s movement in Canada between 1960 and 2010, books written by the very participants in the movement.   

“Playing it Forward: 50 years of Women and Sport in Canada” takes us inside the world of sport in Canada. It shines a light on the efforts of a wide range of players, from school girls fighting for the opportunity to play, to politicians and academics defining policy and developing theory. What they have in common is the courage to take chances, to stand for what they believe is right and to serve as role models.

Women’s full physical prowess can threaten assumptions about gender. The struggle to achieve equality in sport has been integral to the feminist mission of the past 50 years. This book contains an inspiring collection of stories from those on the front lines: athletes, coaches, educators, and activists who stuck their necks out to bring about change.

In October, 2013, at its Vancouver conference, In Her Footsteps, ProMOTION Plus celebrated the launch of Playing it Forward.

Sandra Kirby’s Biography:
An athlete for Canada at the 1976 Olympic Games, Kirby has a strong history in sports.  From 1980 onwards through her research and activism, she has worked diligently on gender and sport equity, child protection in sport, and the eradication of systematic gender verification testing in time for the implementation at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg in 1999.  Through advocacy by committed individuals like Kirby, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) abandoned the widespread use of sex tests for the women athletes.

Over this past decade she has continued her work as a researcher, partly with UNICEF and the IOC, on child protection in sport.

As an Olympic athlete, she was selected to carry the Olympic torch in the torch run prior to the Whistler 2010 Olympic Games and was the only Canadian Rowing Umpire selected to the Olympic/Paralympic Games of 2012.

Photo above: Marion Lay, Patti Hunter, the Honourable Coralee Oakes, Dr. Sandra Kirby, Trisha Smith Photo by Christine Graham.

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