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Advancing girls’ and women’s participation and leadership in sport
Official launch of the Gender+ Equity in Sport Research Hub

TORONTO, 1st DECEMBER 2020 The Gender+ Equity inSport Research Hub was officially launched at a virtual event with nearly 300 participants
from sport and research sectors. The three co-directors, Dr.  Guylaine Demers (Laval University), Dr. Gretchen Kerr (University of Toronto) and Dr. Ann Pegoraro (University of Guelph), presented the Hub’s activities and discussed how Hub research will facilitate concrete changes towards greater inclusion of women and girls in all aspects of the Canadian sport. 

Recognizing that barriers to access sport and sport leadership positions still exist for girls and women, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Hub alongside several additional initiatives in May 2020 to achieve its goal of gender equity in sport by 2035.

The Hub is made up of a unique network of academics, sports community partners, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as experts in gender equity from outside sport and academia. Hub network members will work together to form a knowledge base and resource repository dedicated to research that works towards achieving gender+ equity in sport.

« Sport Canada’s initiative to establish the Research Hub for Gender+ Equity in Sport presents an important and unique opportunity for researchers and practitioners to work together to advance gender+ equity in sport participation and leadership. Through the generation, curation, and dissemination of knowledge the Hub will make significant contributions to achieving the goal of gender+ equity by 2035. »

— Dr. Gretchen Kerr

Co-director, E·Alliance,
Gender+ Equity in Sport Research Hub


  • The Government of Canada provided $1.65 million in funding to design, create and implement the Gender+ Equity in Sport Research Hub to support applied research in sport;
  • Research has already shown that barriers to participation in sport are increasing for girls, women and under-represented groups as a result of COVID-19. The Hub’s work is therefore essential to ensure that gender + equity remains at the forefront of a return to sport;
  • Only 18% of women between the ages of 16 and 63 are involved in sport in Canada;
  • Between the ages of 9 and 12, 1 in 3 girls is likely to drop out of sport;
  • Girls who self-identify as Indigenous have the lowest participation rate at 24%;
  • Women’s sport occupies only 4% of all sports media coverage;
  • Only 16% of coaches at the national level and 25% of coaches at all levels of sport in Canada are women;
  • Of the Canadian coaches at the Rio Olympics, only 6% were women.

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For more information

Gretchen Kerr, Ph.D.

Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education

Vice-Dean, Programs and Innovation

School of Graduate Studies

University of Toronto