Tensions and Future Directions for the Women and Sport Movement

  • Jordan J. K. Matthews


This chapter contributes to literature on a social movement for women and sport; it is informed by social movement literature and postcolonial feminism. The origins, development and major outcomes of the movement are briefly outlined, including how predominantly Western-based women-and-sport social movement organizations have increasingly institutionalized their activism in order to change sport for women. These actions have often resulted in tension both within the movement and outwardly in relation to dominant societal institutions that control sport. Tensions between women with very different outlooks on how best to achieve progress for women and sport are examined by looking at the interrelationship of feminist ideology, politics and identity. The chapter ends by identifying future directions and challenges for the movement, including future activists, the diversification of activism, and research and increasing awareness.


  1. Acosta, R. V. & Carpenter, L. J. (2013). Women in intercollegiate sport: A longitudinal, national study – Thirty-five year update. Retrieved 20 October from
  2. Ashcroft, B. (2001). On post-colonial futures. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  3. Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (Eds.). (1995). The post-colonial studies reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Benn, T., Pfister, G., & Jawad, H. (2011). Muslim women and sport. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Brackenridge, C. (1994a). Communication to Barker, S. 24 March 1994 [fax], WS/I/1/011/1 Jan 1994–Apr 1994, Anita White Foundation International Women and Sport Movement Archive, University of Chichester.Google Scholar
  6. Brackenridge, C. (1994b). Communication to Darlison, E. 22 February 1994 [fax], WS/I/1/011/1 Jan 1994–Apr 1994, Anita White Foundation International Women and Sport Movement Archive, University of Chichester.Google Scholar
  7. Brackenridge, C. (2011). Interview with J. Matthews in September 2011. Chichester. [Recording in possession of author].Google Scholar
  8. Braidotti, R. (2003). Feminist philosophies. In M. Eagleton (Ed.), A concise companion to feminist theory (pp. 195–214). Blackwell Publishing: Oxford.Google Scholar
  9. Cahn, S. K. (1994). Coming on strong: Gender and sexuality in twentieth women’s sport. Ontario: Maxwell Macmillan Inc.Google Scholar
  10. Carpentier, F., & Lefèvre, J.-P. (2006). The modern Olympic movement, women’s sport and the social order during the inter-war period. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 23(7), 1112–1127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Connell, R. (2007). Southern theory. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  12. Crossley, N. (2002). Making sense of social movements. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Darlison, E. (1994). Communication to Brackenridge, C., Fasting, K., Drinkwater, B. & Lay, M. 24 February 1994 [fax], WS/I/1/011/1 Jan 1994–Apr 1994, Anita White Foundation International Women and Sport Movement Archive, University of Chichester.Google Scholar
  14. Della Porta, D., & Diani, M. (2006). Social movements: An introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  15. Fasting, K., Sand, T., Pike, E., & Matthews, J. (2014). From Brighton to Helsinki. Women and sport progress report 1994–2014. IWG Secretariat/Finnish Sports Confederation, Helsinki.Google Scholar
  16. Freeman, J., & Johnson, V. (1999). Waves of protest: Social movements since the sixties. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  17. Giugni, M. G. (1998). Was it worth the effort? The outcomes and consequences of social movements. Annual Review of Sociology, 98, 371–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grace, B. (1995). Women, sport and the challenge of politics: A case study of the Women’s Sport Foundation UK. MA thesis, University of Alberta.Google Scholar
  19. Green, M., & Houlihan, B. (2005). Elite sport development: Policy learning and political priorities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Griffin, P. (1998). Strong women, deep closets. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  21. Hall, M. A. (1995). Feminist activism in sport: A comparative study of women’s sport advocacy organisations. In A. Tomlinson (Ed.), Gender, sport and leisure: Continuities and challenges (pp. 217–250). Brighton: Chelsea School Research Centre, University of Brighton.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, M. A. (1996). Feminism and sporting bodies: Essays on theory and practice. Champaign: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  23. Hall, M. A. (2002). The girl and the game: A history of women’s sport in Canada. Broadview: Ontario.Google Scholar
  24. Hall, M. A. (2013). Interview with J. Matthews in January 2013. Chichester. [Recording in possession of author].Google Scholar
  25. Hall, R. L., & Oglesby, C. A. (2016). Stepping through the looking glass: The future for women in sport. Sex Roles, 74(7), 271–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hargreaves, J. (1994). Sporting females. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hargreaves, J. (2000). Heroines of sport: The politics of difference and identity. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harvey, J., Horne, J., Safai, P., Darnell, S., & Courchesne-O’Neill, S. (Eds.). (2014). Sport and social movements. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  29. Human Rights Watch. (2016). Saudi Arabia: Women are “changing the game”. Retrieved 4 August 2016, from
  30. IWG. (2016). The Brighton declaration on women and sport. Retrieved 4 August2016, from
  31. Klandermans, B., & Staggenborg, S. (Eds.). (2002). Methods of social movement research. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  32. Kriesi, H. (2004). Political context and opportunity. In D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule, & H. Kriesi (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to social movements (pp. 67–90). Blackwell: Oxford.Google Scholar
  33. Krook, M. L., & Mackay, F. (Eds.). (2011). Gender, politics and institutions: Towards a feminist institutionalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Lenskyj, H. J. (1992). Good sports: Feminists organising on sport issues in the 1970s and 1980s. Resources for Feminist Research, 20(3/4), 130–135.Google Scholar
  35. Maguire, J., Jarvie, G., Mansfield, L., & Bradley, J. (2002). Sport worlds: A sociological perspective. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  36. Matthews, J. J. K. (2012). Analysis and review of International Working Group on Women and Sport progress reports 1994–2010. University of Chichester, Anita White Foundation.Google Scholar
  37. Matthews, J. J. K. (2014). A critical analysis of the development, outcomes and definition of the Women and Sport Movement (W&SM). PhD thesis, University of Southampton (Chichester).Google Scholar
  38. Ogasawara, E. (2013). Interview with J. Matthews in January 2013. Chichester. [Recording in possession of author].Google Scholar
  39. Oglesby, C. A. (2012). Interview with J. Matthews in December 2012. Chichester. [Recording in possession of author].Google Scholar
  40. Osborne, C. A., & Skillen, F. (2011). Women in sports history. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Park, R. J. (2005). Searching for a middle ground: Women and professional physical education in the United States 1885–1930. In A. R. Hofmann & E. Trangbæk (Eds.), International perspectives on sporting women in past and present (pp. 127–146). Denmark: University of Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  42. Petersen, H. C. (1975). Dorothy S Ainsworth: Her life, professional career and contributions to physical education. Idaho: University of Idaho Press.Google Scholar
  43. Pfister, G. (2010). Women in sport – Gender relations and future perspectives. Sport in Society, 13(2), 234–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pike, E. C. J., & Matthews, J. J. K. (2014). A post-colonial critique of the international “movements” for women and sexuality in sport. In E. Anderson & J. Hargreaves (Eds.), Handbook of sport, gender and sexualities (pp. 75–83). Routledge: London.Google Scholar
  45. Snyder, M. (2013). Interview with J. Matthews in January 2013. Chichester. [Recording in possession of author].Google Scholar
  46. Spivak, G. C. (1999). A critique of postcolonial reason: Toward a history of the vanishing present. London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Talbot, M. (1986). Women and sport: An examination of the effect of a leisure institution on female participation. World, Leisure and Recreation, 28(4), 13–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Talbot, M. (1988). Understanding the relationships between women and sport: The contribution of British feminist approaches in leisure and cultural studies. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 23(1), 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Talbot, M. (2012). Interview with J. Matthews in October 2012. Chichester. [Recording in possession of author].Google Scholar
  50. Taylor, V. (1989). Social movement continuity: The women’s movement in abeyance. American Sociological Review, 54(5), 761–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Theberge, N. (1983). Feminism and sport: Linking the two through a new organisation. Canadian Woman Studies, 4(3), 79–81.Google Scholar
  52. United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  53. Vertinsky, P. A. (1994). Gender relations, women’s history and sport history: A decade of changing enquiry, 1983–1993. Journal of Sport History, 21(1), 1–24.Google Scholar
  54. Williams, J. (2014). A contemporary history of women’s sport, part one: Sporting women, 1850–1960. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan J. K. Matthews
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ChichesterChichesterUK

Personalised recommendations