Department of Kinesiology

School of Health and Human Sciences

She Can, We Can Timeline

logo that reads unc greensboro department of kinesiology logo that reads she can we can beyond the women's suffrage centennial

Women’s Physical Activity Has Always Been Political: 100+ years of active women and activism at UNCG

For women in the US, physical activity has always been political. As part of UNCG’s “She Can, We Can” series coinciding with the women’s suffrage centennial, we developed the timeline below to highlight the history of women’s physical activity and activism at UNCG within the broader US sociopolitical context. The timeline incorporates information from university archives and interviews with current and former faculty and students.

For more information about this project, contact Dr. Erin Reifsteck:


Project team members:

  • Erin Reifsteck (‘11, ‘14)
  • Shelby Anderson (‘22)
  • DeAnne Brooks (‘10)
  • Adam Berg
  • Diane Gill

We thank the following individuals who were interviewed for this project:

  • Chimeri Anazia (‘22)
  • Lennie Gerber
  • Diane Gill
  • Lauren Griffin (‘20)
  • Vikki Krane (‘90)
  • Jo Safrit (‘57)
  • Clarice Young

We also acknowledge Erin Lawrimore, University Archivist, for her contributions to the timeline content.

Note: This timeline is organized by UNCG history (labeled “UNCG”) and broader US historical context (labeled “US”). UNCG history appears on the right side of the timeline in blue and the US context appears on the left side in red (if viewing from desktop).

Jump to a specific decade

Pre 1920
1920s to 1930s
1940s to 1950s
1960s to 1970s
1980s to 1990s
2000s to 2010s
2020 to Present

Pre 1920

US: Early Physical Activism

During the late 19th century, the bicycle craze reached (white) middle-class women as a form of physical activity in public spaces. Women being active during this time was a form of political activism because it challenged gender norms (e.g., frailty myth that women’s bodies could not handle strenuous activity). American civil rights activist Susan B Anthony wrote in 1896, “I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammeled womanhood”


US: Women’s Colleges Open

The first women’s colleges opened in the US in the mid 1800s. College access was limited to people with economic privilege. Women’s colleges included physical activity as part of a holistic approach to education. Interscholastic athletic competition was uncommon; sport participation typically occurred through on-campus intramurals, with restrictions on physical strain and competitiveness.

UNCG: Women’s College Established

UNCG was established as a women’s college by legislative enactment on February 18, 1891. The institution opened on October 5, 1892 as the State Normal and Industrial College.

US: PE Programs Established

Physical education programs began in the late 19th century. Amy Morris Homans was the director of the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics in 1889, which became part of Wellesley College in 1909. Early physical education women leaders were trained here and eventually spanned out across the country, including to Greensboro (see Mary Channing Coleman).

UNCG: Physical Education

UNCG: Physical Education

The now-called Department of Kinesiology (formerly Physical Education, and before that, Physical Culture) began as hygiene and physiology instruction taught by the college’s resident physician. See this brief history of the early developments of the department at UNCG.


UNCG: Athletic Association Organized

UNCG: Athletic Association Organized

The Athletic Association was formally established in the early 1900s with the motto that “Athletics and active college work go hand in hand.” In 1905, the Athletic Association established a “College Team,” but didn’t play outside of campus until 1907. Intercollegiate competition was frowned upon: “We were taught very strongly the evils that would come from interscholastic sports. This emphasis on winning at any cost was the worst.” (1915 alumna in Physical Culture department).


UNCG: Field Day Participation

UNCG: Field Day Participation

In 1909, Miss Bertha Bell, the director of Physical Culture, introduced “Field Day” when all classes were canceled for a day in the spring so every student and faculty member could participate.


UNCG: Walking Period Mandated

UNCG: Walking Period Mandated

A Walking Period was created so students could get some daily exercise. All students were required to leave the dorms and engage in some type of physical activity. In 1915 during their walking period, students participated in a suffrage march down College Avenue.


UNCG: Institution Name Changes

In 1919, the institution became the North Carolina College for Women (1919–1931), and then the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (aka “the WC”; 1932-1963).

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1920s to 1930s

US: “Flapper Era”

This was the “Flapper Era” of nightlife, dances, jazz music, relaxed sexual mores, and independent, willfully adventurous women.


US: Women’s voting Rights

The 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified by Congress in 1920, giving women the right to vote. Women demonstrating their strength through athleticism was connected to the women’s suffrage movement because it challenged gender norms regarding women’s perceived weakness/inferiority, which was used as an argument against political enfranchisement (see a more nuanced discussion in this article on baseball and women’s suffrage).

UNCG: Mary Channing Coleman

UNCG: Mary Channing Coleman

The Division (later Department in 1935) of Physical Education was formed in 1921, with Mary Channing Coleman as head. Coleman was a graduate of Amy Morris Homans’ famous physical education program at Wellesley. From her arrival on campus in 1920 to her death in 1947, Coleman built up a department of national renown—one of the leading places in the country to train women physical education teachers. It was said that saying “I’m one of Miss Mary Channing Coleman’s girls” could open professional doors.


UNCG: Play Day Instituted

Play Day was instituted in 1928, an event that hosted women from seven different schools competing as mixed teams in a variety of sports.


UNCG: Ethel Martus

UNCG: Ethel Martus

Ethel Martus joined the physical education faculty in 1931, and later became Department Head following Coleman’s death.

US: Participation Over Competition

Physical education for women focused on inclusion and access–”a game for every girl and every girl in a game” was the motto adopted by the Women’s Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation–with an emphasis on participation over competition.
In this clip, Dr. Jo Safrit (‘57), an alumna of the Woman’s College (WC; now UNCG), reflects on perceptions of women’s sports and physical activity in her early days at the WC, which reflected national conversations surrounding the eventual shift from “appropriately feminine” participation in physical activity for women to more competitive sport.


US: Community/Industrial Leagues

Women were also participating in physical activity outside of colleges during this time period. For example, world-renowned female athletes competed in sports like tennis and swimming, and women entered the Olympics during this time. Much of women’s physical activity participation was occurring in community and industrial leagues. For example, Babe Didrikson played in community leagues, won Olympic medals in track & field, and played professional golf. Read more on Babe.


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1940s to 1950s

US: College Sports Day

“Sports Day” became popular on women’s college campuses in the 1940s as a way to broaden competitions from mainly athletics to more “recreational events.”

5 women standing in the grass in front of a university building

UNCG: Sports Day

In 1943, Sports Day featured 30 different activities – from softball to tennis to hopscotch and bridge.

US: Entering Male Spaces

While men were being drafted into the armed services during World War II, women moved into “male occupations” (e.g., Rosie the Riveter) and into previously male-dominated sporting spaces (see for example, the All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League highlighted in the movie, A League of their Own).

UNCG: Top PE Program

During this period, Ethel Martus was instrumental in developing graduate programs and making UNCG one of the top physical education programs in the country.

US: Conservative Period

Post-WWII, the men came home and the country moved into the socially conservative period of the 1950s. During this time, there was a social backlash to women’s sports, which reflected broader restrictions on women in society to give options back to men returning from the war.

black and white photo of two african american female students

UNCG: Desegregating UNC campuses

JoAnne Drane and Bettye Tillman were the first African American students admitted to the WC in 1956 following a court order that required University of North Carolina campuses to begin desegregating. Read more about the desegregation of WC (UNCG).


Interview Spotlight: Jo Safrit

Dr. Jo Safrit completed her undergraduate training in physical education in the 1950s. She went on to obtain her PhD and had a long career in college teaching and research in the field of physical education/kinesiology. She received the UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences Lifetime Legacy Award in 2018. In this clip, Dr. Safrit talks about her physical activity experiences during her time at WC. This included intramural sports and “Play Days” at the university, with limited competition. She credits Dr. Celeste Ulrich, faculty in the department of physical education (now kinesiology), for challenging norms for women’s physical activity by encouraging more aggressive, competitive play. She also discusses the role of WC students engaging in political activism by participating in the civil rights sit-ins, which the students were chastised for by the WC administration.


Interview Spotlight: Lennie Gerber

Dr. Lennie Gerber has a long history in political activism. She started as a sport historian before shifting to a career as a civil rights lawyer at Legal Aid Society. She was married to Dr. Pearl Berlin, faculty at UNCG and together were leaders in LGBTQ+ activism in North Carolina (watch this documentary featuring their story). In this clip, Dr. Lennie Gerber discusses a summer she spent at Woman’s College to earn credits toward her masters degree. She describes an incident where she and a classmate were chastised by the Dean for breaking racial and gender norms.

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1960s to 1970s

US: “Rights Revolution”

The Black Civil Rights Movement, women’s rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War protests sparked the “Rights Revolution.”

UNCG: Greensboro Sit-Ins

In 1960, WC students participated in the historic sit-in with NC A&T University students at Greensboro’s F.W. Woolworth store. Students walked from the WC campus to the store located in downtown Greensboro. Read this article for more info on the Civil Rights Sit-Ins.

US: Civil Rights March

In this clip Dr. Gerber describes how a childhood trip to the South ignited a passion for civil rights and how that shaped her lifelong activist work, including her participation in the 1963 Civil Rights March.


US: Physical Activity is Political

Active women often did not see their sport/physical activity participation as being political or feminist, even though one could argue it was. They were “of the movement, if not for the movement.”


4 african american basketball players from the 1960s

US: Athlete Activists

During the 1960s Civil Rights movement several Black women became leading “athlete activists.” Tennis star Althea Gibson and three-time Olympic gold medalist (1960) Wilma Rudolph challenged white supremacy ideologies through their sporting achievements. Others used the platforms sport provided to support the movement beyond the playing field. Rudolph forced the integration of her hometown’s (Clarksville, Tennessee) parade held in her honor upon return from the Rome Olympics. Her 1960 Olympic teammate, shot putter and bronze medalist Earlene Brown, spoke out for civil rights and women’s rights. Both Rudolph and Brown were open about racism in the United States during international goodwill tours as well, to the dismay of state department officials. High jumper Eroseanna “Rose” Robinson refused to go on such trips and at the 1959 Pan American Games refused to stand during the national anthem.

sepia colored photo of college women playing basketball in the 1960s

UNCG: Intercollegiate Competition Starts

Intercollegiate competition began at UNCG in 1963. Ellen Griffin, faculty member in physical education from 1940-1968, became the first women’s basketball coach in 1963. She was also one of 3 organizers of the Women’s Professional Golf Association in 1944 (eventually became the LPGA in 1950), and was named the LPGA Teacher of the Year (1962).


UNCG: University Becomes Co-Educational

In 1964, the institution officially became co‐educational, and became the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

black female athlete wearing medals around her neck including two gold ones.

US: Women’s Olympic Protest

Three-time gold medalist (1964, 1968) Wyomia Tyus also became an advocate for civil rights and women’s rights. At the 1968 games (before Tommie Smith’s and John Carol’s medals stand protest) she wore dark blue shorts (as close to black as possible) to symbolize racism in America. After a later race she briefly clenched her fist on the medal podium, a gesture in support of expelled teammates Smith and Carols. In 1974, she helped establish the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Photo by UPI – Link

UNCG: Desegregating NC SHAPE

Ethel Martus, who was head of the PE department at UNCG, along with Leroy Walker and Lavonia Allison, faculty from North Carolina Central University, were instrumental in desegregating the North Carolina Alliance of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (now NC SHAPE), which ended the ban on African American membership to the organization in 1965.


headshot of african american woman smiling

UNCG: Dr. E. Doris McKinney

In the mid 1960s with the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement and legislation, UNCG hired the first few African American faculty. The Physical Education department (now Kinesiology) added Dr. E. Doris McKinney to the faculty in 1970. Dr. Mckinney was the first and only Black faculty member in the department until her retirement in 1986. She played a role in writing the university’s first affirmative action plan. Listen to an interview with Dr. MicKinney about her time at UNCG.
On the process of her being hired at UNCG, which involved her relationship with Ethel Martus: “The chancellor… offered me a position in the physical education department. And I am sure that my contact with Mrs. Lawther, who was in this department, probably played a big role in that appointment because they were ready —they thought they were ready, for at least one minority faculty and because she had worked with me in different kinds of capacities. She thought that that might be a good match.
On her approach to “fitting in” as one of only two African American faculty members on campus: “Well, of course, when you consider that you had two versus maybe four hundred, immediately you were different. I never ran into a real difficulty at all, but one had to be very careful that one remained professional under all circumstances because if one were overly sensitive then there could have been a number of altercations that could have arisen from that.


UNCG: Intercollegiate Athletics Department

In 1968, the men’s and women’s intercollegiate programs were consolidated into a single division of intercollegiate athletics department within the larger academic department of health, physical education, and recreation.

Interview Spotlight: Gerber

Dr. Gerber describes her involvement in fighting for women’s rights in the 1970s. She began to give speeches on women’s rights and became known for a particular speech she gave at a national physical education conference where she advocated for women’s rights within the field at a time when very few were taking a stance on this. She was often invited to speak on the topic at various universities and recalls a time when she challenged a university president regarding the inequities between male and female athletes. Her activism extended from women’s rights to gay rights as well.

UNCG: Charter Member AIAW

In 1971, UNCG became a charter member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). The AIAW (1971-1981) functioned in a similar role for college women’s programs that the NCAA had been doing for men’s programs (i.e., provided a framework for women’s collegiate athletic competitions and championships).

Interview Spotlight: Diane Gill

Dr. Diane Gill is a professor of kinesiology at UNCG. She completed her undergraduate degree in physical education at SUNY-Cortland in 1970 around the height of the women’s rights movement. She went on to complete her PhD at University of Illinois, with faculty appointments at University of Waterloo and University of Iowa. In this clip, Dr. Gill discusses physical activity participation and women’s activism during this era from her experience. Typical of most universities at the time, women’s physical activity occurred in gender-segregated spaces with separate academic departments for women’s and men’s physical education. The eventual merger of these departments led to women losing ground in terms of representation in the field, particularly in leadership positions. Dr. Gill was one of only a few women in her doctoral studies and early faculty appointments. Women’s intercollegiate sport participation was limited during this era, though the landscape of women’s college athletics would change following the passage of Title IX in 1972 and the NCAA’s eventual takeover of women’s athletic championships.

Interview Spotlight: Lennie Gerber

In this clip, Dr. Gerber recalls when her partner, Dr. Pearl Berlin, was hired by UNCG to join the (now called) kinesiology department in 1971. Dr. Gerber recalls that, despite her standing in the field, UNCG did not also offer her a faculty appointment because Pearl and Lennie were “too open” about their relationship.

US: Title IX Ratified

Title IX, which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, was passed in 1972. In comparison to other aspects of education impacted by the law, there was much resistance from athletics programs to women’s participation. In this video, Dr. Diane Gill discusses when Title IX was passed.


US: “Battle of the Sexes”

In 1973, women’s tennis star Billie Jean King beat self-proclaimed male chauvinist Bobby Riggs in straight sets in what is known as the “Battle of the Sexes.” An estimated 90 million people watched the event live. Many claim it, alongside Title IX, helped spark women’s participation in sport.


Interview Spotlight: Vikki Krane

Dr. Vikki Krane is Professor of Teaching Excellence in the School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies at Bowling Green State University. Her scholarship focuses on feminist sport psychology, gender, sexuality & sport. Dr. Krane is an alum of UNCG, earning a PhD in Kinesiology (1990). She was named UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences Distinguished Alumna in 2015. In this clip she describes her personal experiences in sport before and after the passage of Title IX, the challenges experienced, and the ways she advocated for progress.

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1980s to 1990s

US: NCAA Takeover

In the 1980s, the NCAA, run by men, deployed a “hostile takeover” of women’s collegiate sport after they were unable to repeal Title IX. AIAW argued for autonomy, wanted to maintain female control over women’s sport, and stave off “over-competitiveness,” commercialization, and exploitation. However, the NCAA started to hold women’s tournaments, and the money and TV exposure (i.e., advertising value) led most schools to abandon the AIAW for the NCAA.

middle aged female with short hair coaching women basketball players

UNCG: Move to NCAA

Following a national trend, the university withdrew from the AIAW in 1981, and moved  into the NCAA’s Dixie Conference with the men’s athletics programs. In their first year competing in the NCAA, the women’s basketball team under Coach Lynne Agee finished second in the nation in Division III and Carol Peschel became UNCG’s first All-American athlete. Lynne Agee also coached both women’s and men’s tennis, which would have been outside the norm. Listen to the following excerpt from an interview with Coach Agee.  “Well I did about everything growing up as an athlete. I played tennis in college, so I ended up in a dual role. I actually had the men’s tennis team too… I coached men’s tennis and women’s tennis to a level for a couple of years until we could get to the point where we can hire a men’s tennis coach. At this time we were building and money, money, money to bring in new positions to do what we wanted to do.” (Audio recording 21:30-22:30) Listen to the full interview with Coach Agee.


UNCG: Independent Athletic Department

During this time, the athletics program moved out of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (now the School of Health and Human Sciences) into an independent department. In 1983, Nelson Bobb was hired as the University’s first full-time athletic director – a position he held for 26 years until he retired in 2009. In this interview excerpt, Coach Lynne Agee and former women’s basketball player Carol Peschel discuss equity between men’s and women’s teams under the leadership of AD Nelson: “Nelson wanted … His goal was don’t look at how much money this team gets or that team gets, he wanted every student athlete to have the same experience, whether it would be women’s golf or men’s basketball. He wanted them to be able to have the same experience. When they went on the road, to be able to go to nice restaurants and eat. Not have this team eating steaks while this teams over here at McDonald’s eating burgers. He wanted you to be able to use your money to treat your kids well, so that every kid got the same experience and felt good about the program.” (Audio recording 37:00-39:00) Listen to the full Agee and Peschel interview


UNCG: NCAA Division I

In 1987, the Board of Trustees approved elevation of the athletics program to scholarship status and moved up to NCAA Division II in 1988. The University athletics program became Division I in 1991. Women’s teams were competing in the Big South Conference and having a lot of success. For example, women’s golf was ranked in the top 20 nationally and women’s basketball won five straight regular season Big South Championships and made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 1998.


Interview Spotlight: Diane Gill

Dr. Diane Gill joined the UNCG faculty in the (now called) Department of Kinesiology in 1987. At the time, the physical education department was transforming from being a majority of women faculty focused on teaching, with a strong reputation for training women leaders in the field, to more male faculty and students in the department with increased emphasis on research.


Interview Spotlight: Vikki Krane

Dr. Krane discusses how her activism in women’s sport and physical activity was shaped by her time at UNCG.

US: Sport Popularity Rises

By the 1990s, an entire generation of girls had grown up in the post-Title IX era. As a result, women’s sports teams and athletes became more prominent than ever. For example, the 1999 World Cup Final (where the U.S. won the final match in penalty kicks) was the most watched women’s sport event in American history.


US: Loss of Leadership

However, inequalities persisted. Women’s sport continued to receive less financial support and recognition than men’s sport. In particular, media coverage proved inferior and sexist. Despite the increase in athletic participation, women lost leadership positions in athletics and physical education.


Interview Spotlight: Vikki Krane

Dr. Vikki Krane is a leading scholar on LGBTQ issues in sports. In this clip, Dr. Krane talks about the political beginnings of her research.

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2000s to 2010s

US: Sport Popularity/Specialization

Women’s sport became more popular at all levels in the 2000s, but also increasingly focused on specialization and elite competition.

UNCG: Kinesiology Department Changes

Over the span of two decades, the Department of Physical Education changed names to Exercise Science (1989) and then to Kinesiology (2009). The name changes reflect the change in emphasis away from traditional physical education to allied health areas. Faculty emphasis on research increased, and the department shifted from socio-historical emphasis (which often includes more critical analyses of sport/physical activity and social justice issues) to biological sciences.


UNCG: Woman AD Hired

In 2009 Kim Record became the athletic director at UNCG, one of few women athletic directors in the country.

Interview Spotlight: Vikki Krane

Dr. Vikki Krane discusses the continued gender disparities in sport and physical activity.


US: Calls for Equity

In the 2010s, there was a growing movement in elite women’s sports to advocate for equal (or improved) pay and support (travel, accommodations, facilities, etc). For example, players from the US Women’s National Soccer Team filed a federal equal pay complaint in 2016 and sued US soccer in 2019 (watch this documentary); US Women’s Hockey also went on strike prior to the 2018 World Cup.

Interview Spotlight: Clarice Young

Clarice Young, MFA is faculty in the School of Dance at UNCG and a professional dancer and choreographer. In this clip she talks about the importance of representation in dance/physical activity spaces and the transformational impact that can have on others: “my body represents more in this space.”

US: WNBA Political Activism

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) played a central role in reviving athlete political activism. See timeline of WNBA player activism here, and watch this video or listen to this podcast to learn more.


US: #MeToo Movement Ignited

In an extension of the #MeToo movement, highly visible female athletes like US Women’s gymnasts speak out on sexual abuse in sport. Listen to this podcast where Aly Raisman demands greater accountability.

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2020 to Present


UNCG: Minority-Serving Institution

Today UNCG is a minority-serving institution. However, faculty representation in the Department of Kinesiology does not match our students or the community.


Interview Spotlight: Lauren Griffin

Dr. Lauren Griffin is an alumna of the UNCG EdD in Kinesiology program. She formerly served as an athletic trainer for UNCG Athletics Department, working primarily with the women’s basketball team. She is currently the Clinical Coordinator for UNCG’s master’s in athletic training program (MSAT). She is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the athletic training profession. In this clip, Dr. Griffin discusses her research on promoting inclusion of Black students and professionals in the field of athletic training, which similar to the broader field of kinesiology, has historically not always been perceived to be a very welcoming place for students and professionals of color.


Interview Spotlight: Lauren Griffin

In this clip, Dr. Griffin discusses challenges she has experienced and ways she has transgressed boundaries in athletic training as a Black woman in the field.

african american female standing in front a mural

US: Black Lives Matter

In summer 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement, protests over killings of unarmed Black Americans like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and increased anti-Asian violence collided with the global COVID-19 pandemic, further highlighting racism, systemic inequities, and health disparities. Chimeri Anazia, Kinesiology major (‘22), is pictured above with the mural she painted in downtown Greensboro.

Interview Spotlight: Chimeri Anazia

At the time of this interview, Chimeri Anazia was a senior kinesiology major. Chimeri describes her involvement in social activism, including painting a mural in downtown Greensboro in summer 2020.


Interview Spotlight: Clarice Young

Clarice says the political part of her dance is her “showing up.” She then talks about showing up for students during the Black Lives Matter protests. She also talks about UNCG specifically which, has allowed her to “protest” in supported ways given the culture in the dance department. She discusses the relationship between activism and physical activity in her dance as a performer and teacher.


UNCG: Social Justice Response

In the summer of 2020, the university and several schools/departments issued statements in response to ongoing social justice issues (see Department of Kinesiology statement here). UNCG also launched the Racial Equity website as a space to “ask difficult questions, seek out a community in dialogue, and find resources to learn and grow as we affirm our commitment to racial equity, systemic change, and shared fate.” The Department of Kinesiology established its first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.


Interview Spotlight: Chimeri Anazia

Chimeri talks about the way physical activity is connected to her activism (marching in protests, running from danger) and how her physical activity participation itself may be a political statement.

Interview Spotlight: Clarice Young

Clarice Young discusses the ways choreography can serve as political protest in the stories that are told through dance. She recognizes that her presence in dance today honors those who did the political work before her.


US: Mental Health Visibility

Several highly visible female athletes (e.g., Naomi Osaka) are bringing attention to mental health concerns.


Interview Spotlight: Vikki Krane

Dr. Krane reflects on physical activity as a form of activism through empowerment: “It’s the physical activity that brings together this ground swelling and empowerment to push this political ideal.”


US: Advocacy Beyond Sport

Women athletes are advocating for equality in the workplace, including changes to policy for family planning. For example, in the 2020 WNBA collective bargaining agreement players received full salary on maternity leave, childcare stipend, and more. Additionally, Olympic track star Allison Felix pushed Nike to change their maternity leave policy. Read this article for more info.

Interview Spotlight: Lauren Griffin

Dr. Lauren Griffin discusses her experience as the only Black athletic trainer on staff and her involvement as a mentor to Black student-athletes. She serves as advisor to the UNCG Black Student Athlete Alliance, which was formed following Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. Her mentoring of Black students is a key feature of her activism within sport/physical activity spaces at UNCG.


protestors holding signs and screaming through a bullhorn

UNCG: Athletes March

The Black Student-Athlete Alliance and Athletes for Activism were formed in response to the social and political climate. The purpose of the Black Student-Athlete Alliance is “to provide a safe space for Black student-athletes to express themselves and to create a community committed to education, amplifying voices, and unity.” In spring 2021, they led the UNCG Equity March.  As co-president and women’s basketball player Aja Boyd explained: “Marching for equality means we are marching for the Black community. We’re marching for the trans community. We’re marching for the LBGT community. We’re marching for indigenous people, and we’re marching for all minorities, who feel like they don’t have a place in America or don’t belong. We’re marching to use our voices for the voiceless.”

US: Transgender Rights Contested

The movement for women’s equality in sports has extended to transgender rights, which continues to be contested and debated at all levels. At the time this timeline was created there were over 25 anti-trans bills related to sport participation in the US. Professional women athletes have taken an activist stance on transgender rights. For example, the US Women’s National Soccer Team protested a bill that was passed in Texas in 2022 criminalizing gender affirming care by wearing wristbands that read “Protect Trans Kids.” Read this article for more information.

Interview Spotlight: Chimeri Anazia

At the centennial of women gaining the right to vote in the United States, UNCG women continue to use physical activity, in subtle and overt ways, to empower themselves and others. In this video, Chimeri reflects on her physical activity experience at UNCG and how this may contrast with students’ experiences in earlier eras.

Looking to the Future

As we look to the future, interviewees ponder the progress in women’s activism.

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