Expert Opinion

Gender, PE and Active Lifestyles

In this blog post, Dr Annette Stride reflects on a recent conference held at Leeds Beckett which explored young people’s experiences of physical education, sport, health and active lifestyles.
Two active lifestyles students

Recently staff based in the Physical Education Academic Group of the School of Sport hosted a one day ‘Gender, PE and Active Lifestyles’ conference at the Headingley campus. The conference was organised by myself, Anne Flintoff, Hayley Fitzgerald, Scarlett Drury and Ruth Brazier and formed part of a programme of activities supported by my University funded Early Career Researcher Fellowship.

Sponsored by the Carnegie School of Sport and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research Centre, the conference attracted over 75 attendees from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain, America and Denmark, who were able to listen to the two keynotes and 23 individual presentations in the programme, and network with each other at the evening drinks reception.

Emeritus Professor Sheila Scraton opened the event with her thought-provoking lecture ‘Twenty Five Years Of Shaping Up To Womanhood’. Sheila reflected back on her research from the 1980s and then went onto explore some current debates about gender being played out in the media and academia, including the relevance of feminism today; the extent to which gender equality has been achieved, and how we might retain a feminist praxis.

In her closing keynote, Dr Emma Rich from Bath University, focused initially on the contributions made by feminist researchers in shaping contemporary debates and analyses of health, girls’ bodies and subjectivities. Emma then shared some of her current research on digital health and young people, posing the question how this may be used to inform and challenge gender inequalities.


The presentations delivered during the day were equally thought-provoking and diverse in topic, engaging all conference participants, whether they be practitioners, early career researchers, undergraduates or experienced academics. The feedback post conference has been extremely positive to date:

“I have to say that my attending the Gender, PE and Active Lifestyles conference at Leeds was a breath of inspiration and empowerment”

“Thank you all for organising the conference - I really, really enjoyed the day... my brain hurt so much by the end of day with the many fruitful conversations”

“The conference was a credit to you and the organising committee and as I mentioned to you in passing, a great celebration of Sheila’s work and recognition of her ‘legacy’”

With the conference now finished, the organising committee are now turning their attention to editing a Special Issue of the journal Sport Education and Society, including many of the papers presented at the conference. The call for papers has been so successful in terms of the number of high quality abstracts submitted that the journal’s Editorial Board has agreed to publish two Special Issues, due for publication in autumn 2018.

Dr Annette Stride

Course Director and Reader / Carnegie School Of Sport

Annette is a Principal Lecturer and Course Director in the Physical Education Academic Group where she teaches on, and oversees provision of, the Physical Education undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. Her teaching is underpinned by research with a social justice agenda.

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