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Welcome to the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport blog. The Tucker Center–the first and only one of its kind in the world–is an interdisciplinary research center leading a pioneering effort to examine how sport and physical activity affect the lives of girls and women, their families, and communities. To learn more about the Tucker Center, visit our web page. We invite you to visit and comment on the TC blog often!

Tucker Center Film Festival Returns in 2012



The Tucker Center and the University of Minnesota Athletic Department are pleased to announce the return and official 2012 selections of the Tucker Center Film Festival. The festival will take place on January 30, 2012, at TCF Bank Stadium in the DQ Club Room and will feature the Midwest Premiere of Salaam Dunk, as well as the locally-produced short film, Grappling Girls. The event is part of the 26th annual celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD).

The feature film, Salaam Dunk, is a stirring account of an Iraqi women’s basketball team at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani (AUIS) in Kurdistan. Grappling Girls is a documentary-in-progress about women’s competitive wrestling—an emerging sport in the US.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the films beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at Discounted rates are available to students and to groups of 15 or more.


3 Concrete Actions That Can Make a Difference for Girls & Women in Sport


On November 2, 2011 we, the Tucker Center, hosted a one day conference on creating change for girls and women in sport. There was a great deal of dialogue amongst participants as to how to achieve such change. You can see the collage of pictures from our Photobooth on our Facebook page. Here are 3 that stood out:

1. VOLUNTEER. Get involved with an organization and volunteer your time. Ask how you can help. Many organizations survive due to the time and energy given by volunteers. There are countless ways to help…how and where are you volunteering?

2. Support and promote women’s sport by visiting, increasing pages clicks, posting comments, and sharing links of blogs via Twitter, email or Facebook (or other social media outlets) that support and discuss issues around women’s sport. By doing so, it provides concrete evidence to sponsors, advertisers, and editors that people in fact DO care about women’s sport and there is value in covering and investing dollars in advertising. If you want to start now, go to

3. Similar to making page clicks on women’s sport blogs, BUY TICKETS to women’s sport events. Make it a goal to attend at least one event at your local college, university or professional women’s sport team. If you feel really inspired, buy season tickets. Bring a friend or two who have never attended, take your son and his friends and expose young boys to the athleticism of great female athletes, take your whole family!

What ideas do you have about concrete action strategies? Post a comment and share your idea.


Tucker Center Girls & Women in Sport Conference a Success


On November 2, 2011 over 150 participants gathered on the University of Minnesota campus to discuss current issues in girls and women and to discuss strategies of change at a conference hosted by the Tucker Center.

In the 40 years since the passage of Title IX, females are participating in sport in record numbers. However, a number of inequalities still exist including lack of media coverage for females athletes, a scarcity of women in positions of power in sport in all positions and at all levels, and a participation gap in sport participation where boys outnumber girls at all levels. 

To see pictures and all of the word clouds from the conference visit and “Like” our Facebook page.

To hear TC Director Mary Jo Kane and opening keynote speaker Don Sabo talk with MPR’s Kerri Miller on the “leveling of the playing field” for girls and women in sport and media coverage of female athletes, click here.

Stakeholders in attendance included leaders from many key organizations and centers dedicated to women in sport: Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), The Women’s Sport Foundation’s (WSF), Sports Health and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls (SHARP), National Association of Girls & Women in Sport (NAGWS), the Program for the Advancement of Girls & Women in Sport and PA, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Alliance of Women Coaches, International Working Group for Women in Sport (IWG), WomenSport International (WSI), Association for Women in Sport Media (AWSM), espnW and more!

A couple related stories to support the ideas above and add to the dialogue that fighting for change for females in sport in particular and for girls and women in general is still necessary.

Look for exciting new partnerships, collaborative projects, and initiatives that participants were discussing at the conference. What will you do to create change for girls and women in sport?


New ground-breaking documentary examines female athletes and concussions


Female athletes and concussions explored in ground-breaking documentary by U of M’s Tucker Center and TPT

To view the full length documentary for free, click here.

To see a video clip of the documentary click here.

To see KARE 11 Dave Berggren’s piece on the documentary and hear Associate Director Nicole M. LaVoi discuss its importance click here.

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (10/03/2011) —In collaboration with the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) Channel 2 has produced a ground-breaking, one-hour documentary on the untold story of female athletes and concussion injuries airing at 8 p.m. on Sunday, October 16.

Concussions and their devastating consequences affect athletes in all sports and at all levels. However, while sport-related concussions have ignited a national conversation and public debate about this serious brain injury, the majority of attention has focused on male athletes. Critical issues surrounding the impact of concussion on female athletes have been largely ignored. Through the personal stories and experiences of coaches, athletes and their families, as well as in-depth interviews with nationally recognized scholars and medical experts, this documentary examines the causes underlying concussion and offers practical solutions to help prevent and treat sports-related concussion injuries in female athletes.

“This partnership with TPT allows us to fulfill the core mission of the Tucker Center—to engage in research that truly makes a difference in the live of girls and women, their families, and communities,” says Tucker Center Director and Professor Mary Jo Kane. “We are also deeply committed to educational endeavors and community outreach that provides knowledge to a vast audience. In the case of serious brain injuries such as a concussion, this documentary could save lives.”

In a unique arrangement, TPT has granted the Tucker Center rights to distribute the documentary as an educational tool to a broad constituency, including high school and college coaches, along with scholars, educators, policy makers and the general public.

“Having the ability to widely disseminate the video will make a difference and impact those who need the information the most,” said Nicole M. LaVoi, associate director of the Tucker Center.

Former U of M President Robert Bruininks, who appears in the documentary, states, “Sport-related concussions are a much more serious issue than we thought just a few years ago. There is no better place than the Tucker Center and the U of M to have a serious conversation about the implications of this injury on the long-term health of girls and women who participate in exercise and sports.

Read the story “Dealing with the aftermath of a serious high school sports injury”

Refuting “Sex Sells” Women’s Sport


The Nation magazine just published a special issue on the role and impact of sport on U.S. culture. Mary Jo Kane, sport media scholar and the Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, was asked by Dave Zirin (guest editor) to write a column on sport, media and gender. Kane addressed the notion that “sex sells” women’s sports and focused on her own research as well as 40 years of sport media scholarship. The article contains a link to a slide show of various media representations. At the end of slide show readers are directed to the Tucker Center website where there is more text/critique and an expanded slide show.

Below are the links to The Nation article and slide show.

For media inquires and/or more information about this piece, please contact Jonathan Sweet (

Call For Papers: Girls & Women in Sport & Physical Activity: Creating Change


The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota is hosting an exciting conference Wednesday, November 2, 2011 in Minneapolis, MN, preceding the annual meeting of the North American Society of Sport Sociology.

“Girls & Women in Sport & Physical Activity: Creating Change”

This one day interactive, translational, collaborative, multidisciplinary conference will bring together scholars, practitioners, community members, movers & shakers, leaders, and advocates. In the nearly 40 years since Title IX was enacted, significant changes and positive outcomes for girls and women in physical activity contexts are evidenced, yet disparities and inequalities exist in many key areas including for example, gendered participation gaps and media coverage. The focus of this conference is on the future and how collaborative action can help generate action and change. How can we use what we know to make a difference and create change?

The Call For Papers (CFP), registration, and more information about the conference can be accessed and downloaded on our website.

The deadline for abstract submission is July 15, 2011.

We hope to see you in November!

Watch the Video of “The Female Athlete and Concussions”


The video of our Spring 2011 Distinguished Lecture on “The Female Athlete and Concussions” is now available online, free of charge.

Featuring Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., Jill Brooks, Ph.D., and Aynsley Smith, Ph.D., R.N.

Recent research findings in multiple academic disciplines have sparked a much-needed national conversation about the rising incidence, severity, and consequences of sport-related concussions. This conversation has also raised our awareness, increased our educational efforts, and spurred policy changes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of concussion-related research and public dialogue have centered on male athletes, specifically at the professional level. Yet concussions—and their devastating consequences—affect athletes in all sports and at all levels, regardless of gender. This has prompted scholars to ask: Do gender differences exist in sport-related concussion risk, symptoms, outcomes, and recovery? To address these critical questions and issues, nationally recognized experts discussed the latest research about what is known and not known regarding the impact of concussions on female athletes. Strategies for future research, as well as educational and prevention efforts, was also discussed.

To watch the video click here. (forward to about the 7mn mark to bypass introductions)

To access free sport concussion materials for parents, coaches and athletes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) click here.