Call for Papers | Frontiers Research Topic: “Engaging Women and Girls in Community Sport: Building an Equitable and Inclusive Future” | Call ends May 6, 2021

About this Research Topic

Internationally, women and girls are consistently reported to have lower levels of engagement in community sport than men and boys. Community sport has been touted as an important part of “the fabric of a community”, with recreational and competitive programs and services provided by public, nonprofit and for-profit or commercial organizations. Yet girls and women are less likely to participate in and lead these programs, missing opportunities for physical, social and mental health benefits and personal development. Their underrepresentation may be attributed to multilevel factors (individual, interpersonal/social, organizational, cultural, and policy), but research has been focused more broadly in the context of physical activity or within school settings, and is limited in the context of community sport.

With the continuing gender gap in community sport there is a need to explore the experiences and strategies that can inform policy and practice that support women and girls’ participation and leadership. Progress relies on knowledge from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives to address sociological, cultural, management, policy, legal, and historical aspects to achieving inclusion and quality experiences for women and girls in this context. This is even more important in today’s world with the disruption and impact caused by COVID-19 to communities and sporting organizations, as it carries the risk that any progress in the engagement of women and girls in community sport is slowed or stalled; particularly as women and girls face gender inequalities across many areas of life impacted by COVID-19.

The aim of this Research Topic is to showcase high-quality research related to women and girls in community sport. This is to inform policy makers and guide organizations in their efforts to build a more equitable and inclusive future for women and girls in community sport.

This Research Topic seeks contributions that advance understanding of experiences, barriers and supports for women and girls in community sport, that can inform policy and practice aimed at improving their engagement. We welcome submissions that are informed by a variety of methodologies. The topic seeks contributions from across the global academic community to help address the long standing underrepresentation of women and girls in community sport, and that might also help to inform COVID-19 recovery plans that reboot community sport to build back with more effective promotion of gender equity and inclusion.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

      • Gender equity and social inclusion in community sport
      • Understanding entry level (grassroots, modified) community sport experiences for girls
      • Women and girls’ sport participation pathways and experiences in emerging sports at the community level (e.g. rise of women’s participation in male dominated sports, and informal, modified and/or social sport)
      • Organizational capacity to address gender equity and inclusion in community-level sport
      • Evaluation/assessment of sport initiatives/interventions/campaigns and policies targeted to women and girls’ community sport participation
      • Experiences of women volunteers in community sport
      • Role of family in women and girls’ community sport engagement and experiences
      • Understanding girls and women’s interests, motivations and goals in and through community sport
      • Women role models in community sport
      • Understanding the role of intersectionality in women and girls’ engagement and experiences in community sport
      • Experiences of marginalized women and girls
      • Women in community sport leadership (e.g. coaching, officiating, governance)
      • The combined effect of multilevel factors (individual, interpersonal, organizational, social, cultural, policy) on the engagement and experience of women and girls in community sport


community sport, women, girls, participation, leadership

Topic Editors

Meghan Casey, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Australia

Leanne Norman, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom

Sam K Elliott, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

Alison Doherty, Western University (Canada), London, Canada

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Submission Deadlines

      • 6 Mayt 2021 | Abstract
      • 4 October 2021 | Manuscript

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