A First in Canada: Research Hub to Work Toward Gender Equity in All Levels of Sport

News release

OTTAWA, May 1, 2019

To create an environment where girls and women feel comfortable engaging in sport at all ages and all levels, we need to understand why they are discouraged from  participating in sport or move into the senior coaching, management or leadership ranks in sport.

The Government of Canada is taking concrete steps to achieve gender equity in sport and ensure that girls and women have equal opportunities to follow their dreams and fulfill their potential.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced $2.6 million in funding to design, create and implement a gender equity research hub to support applied research in sport.

This Gender Equity in Sport Research Hub will:

  • collect relevant research and create a national database;

  • design and build a centralized reporting and auditing tool for tracking participation of girls and women in sport;

  • collect and refine core program and policy indicators to monitor and evaluate policies and programs addressing the participation of girls and women in sport; and

  • work with the Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) to create communications tools and resources to share findings.

At the end of May, selected representatives of the sport research community, the sport community, international research officials and Government of Canada policy makers will participate in a two-day forum to determine the parameters of this research hub. This forum will be organized by the Sport Information Resource Centre. Discussions will inform the development of a Request for Proposal to set up and operate a Canadian Gender Equity in Sport Research Hub.

The Gender Equity in Sport Research Hub follows the recent announcement by Minister Duncan to establish a federal Gender Equity Secretariat to develop, implement and monitor a Gender Equity Strategy. It also follows the announcement of $3 million in funding over four years to the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) to support its efforts to increase participation of women and girls in sport as athletes and leaders.


“Girls and women deserve equal opportunities to participate in sport, follow their dreams and fulfill their potential. That’s why we’re committed to achieving gender equity in sport by 2035. This research hub will allow us to better understand why girls and women decide not to participate in sport, or become sport leaders. As a scientist, athlete and coach, this is a very exciting project that will yield hard data that can be used to make real progress.

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“The Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) is pleased to be hosting this important forum at the end of May that will bring together sport practitioners, academics and policy experts, to formulate a pan-Canadian approach to tackling the barriers to gender equity in sport.”

— Debra Gassewitz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sport Information Resource Centre

Quick facts

  • The 2018 Federal Budget included an initial three-year commitment of $30 million to support data, research and innovative practices to promote girls’ and women’s participation in sport, as well as to provide support to national sport organizations to foster greater inclusion for girls and women. The government’s goal is to achieve gender equity in sport at every level by 2035

  • Recent research notes that:

    • 41 percent of girls aged 3 to 17 and 84 percent of women do not participate in sport;

    • 38 percent of senior staff of national multisport service organizations are women;

    • 29 percent of board members are women; and;

    34.9 percent of certified coaches are women, and 30 percent of officials are women.

  • In April 2018, Minister Duncan convened a Working Group on Gender Equity in Sport to gather the experiences, perspectives and insights of 12 champions for gender equity in sport. The group provided a range of views and advice aimed at better understanding and serving the specific needs of girls and women in sport. The Gender Equity in Sport Research Hub announced today was informed by discussions held by members of the working group.

Associated links


Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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