“Women in Sport and Exercise Conference 2018: Blood, Sweat and Fears”

Research on women and how a woman’s body responds to exercise lags far behind that carried out on men. For instance, there is limited research on how variations in hormones can affect sports performance (Bruinvels et al., 2017), and females are significantly under-represented in research in sports and exercise medicine (Costello, Bieuzen, & Bleakley, 2014). Males also outnumber females in sport-related employment, especially in graduate-level jobs, senior roles, and in leadership positions (Hartmann-Tews, & Pfister, 2005). For instance, there are far fewer female head athletic trainers (Mazerolle, Burton, & Raymond, 2015), sports physicians (Stern, Gateley, & Barrett, 2013), sport coaches/head coaches (Norman, 2012; Walker & Bopp, 2011) and governance executives of organised sport (Burton, 2015; Koca & Öztürk, 2015; Pfister & Radtke, 2009) than there are male.

To address these points and raise awareness of some of these gender inequalities that relate to research and graduate-level employment Staffordshire University Senior Lecturer Dr Jacky Forsyth is hosting the “Women in Sport and Exercise Conference 2018: Blood, Sweat and Fears” held at the University on 13th-14th June 2018. The aim of the conference is to debate the female-specific health and medical issues arising from physical activity and sport, and to raise awareness of the issues and opportunities for women’s exercise participation

Conference keynote speakers include Annamarie Phelps CBE OLY, Vice Chair of the British Olympic Association and an advocate for safe and inclusive sport for all.

Angela Smith, who was instrumental in the formation of the women’s squash professional organisation and circuit .


Lisa O’Keefe, Insight Director at Sport England who will be sharing the story behind their ‘This Girl Can’ campaign.

There will also be invited and guest speakers, from university academics, medical professionals, and from organisations such as Women in Sport. Topics include: nutrition for the exercising female; body image; cardiovascular health, female hormones and exercise; lifestyle interventions for women’s health issues; male/female differences in pacing, fatigue and tactics of winning races; breast biomechanics and health implications; bone health; female sports endocrinology; the benefits and risks of menstruation and sport; the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptives; gender diversity in women’s coaching; concussion and the female athlete; the impact of puberty on girls’ attitudes towards sport; a performance psychology approach to building confidence; physical activity for pregnant women; iron deficiency; motherhood as an athletic career transition; homophobia; and diversity.

The conference is endorsed by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS), and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), with support also from Fitrwoman, the Women’s Sports Network, C-Motion Research Biomechanics, Routledge, Una Sports Medicine, and PhysiYoga Designs Ltd. We are expecting a range of delegates to attend, including researchers, academics, athletes, coaches, students, and those involved in the governance of sport.

The Women in Sport and Exercise conference forms part of the Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network (WISEAN), the aim of which is to grow, strengthen and promote research on women in sport and exercise, with the goal of optimising women’s athletic success and their participation. Through the conference and network, we aim to promote and grow research expertise and collaboration.

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