The WiSEAN conference 2020 was a global virtual event to discuss the impact of situations like COVID-19 on the exercising female. The aim of the event was to help grow, strengthen and promote research on women in sport and exercise, especially when restrictions impose changes to how we work, exercise, and to how we view and compete in sport.
Women tend to be overlooked when it comes to research within sport and exercise. We, therefore, wished to virtually connect individuals from a range of disciplines to ensure that sport and exercise research has a focus on women, especially during COVID-19 and beyond. We wanted women to 'get back on their feet' to ensure that existing gender inequalities within sport and exercise fail to be heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a variety of keynote speakers and themed workshops, the aim was to increase awareness about how to optimise women’s athletic success and their participation.
This online conference was produced so individuals could attend from the comfort of their own homes. This conference also provided a platform of networking opportunities to connect with others in sport and exercise to boost confidence, training and motivation through knowledge gained via others’ research and experience.
Professor Laura J. Burton is a professor of sport management and department head in the Department of Educational Leadership within the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include understanding leadership in organisations (particularly sport organisations) and exploring development, access and success in leadership.
Dr Nicky Keay
Dr Nicky Keay, BA, MA, MB, BChir (Cantab), MRCP studied medicine at Cambridge University, with clinical attachments including sports medicine clinics in Australia and University of Geneva. Nicky is currently Honorary Fellow at Durham University, researching the risk of RED-S in dancers and athletes.
Professor Zoe Knowles
Professor Zoe Knowles (Professor of Engagement and Learning) is the Strategic Lead for External Engagement in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University and also a National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) Public Engagement Professional. Zoe is the new Chair Elect of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) - the first female to hold this prestigious role.
Dr Emma Ross
Dr Emma Ross was, until recently, the Head of Physiology at the English Institute of Sport, In this role she developed the SmartHER campaign, to optimise science and medicine support of female athlete health, wellbeing and performance. Emma recently founded her own company, Thrive Revolution, to educate and empower women across the lifespan, with the knowledge they need to achieve health, happiness and high performance.
Professor Holly Thorpe
Professor Holly Thorpe, Te Huataki School of Health at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, works in the field of sociology of sport, with her research interests including women’s sport, health and fitness; social media and new digital technologies; and sport for recovery and social development.
Kate Nicholson is the Head of Insight and Innovation at Women in Sport, a charity founded in 1984 with the goal of giving every woman and girl in the UK the opportunity to experience the transformational rewards of sport. Since working at the charity, Kate has headed up several influential studies, such as, on the drop out of teenage girls from sport, the visibility of women's sport in the media and gender inclusion in the sports workplace.
Dr Bryna Chrismas
Dr Bryna Chrismas is an Assistant Professor for the Sport Science program at Qatar University. Her research is focused on the physiological mechanisms underpinning performance and health in women. She has international collaborations spanning three continents and involving academics, researchers and practitioners.
Associate Professor Mette Henson
Dr Mette Hansen is an Associate Professor in the Department for Public Health at Aarhus University, Denmark, where she is part of the Exercise Biology research group. Mette has an educational background in Sport Sciences and Human Nutrition. She performed her PhD project and a 3-year post-doc project at the Institute of Sports Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark. The PhD project was the starting point for her research in relation to the female hormones.
Whilst working as a sport science intern at Aspire Academy, Hanna started playing rugby and, during her first season, participated at Dubai 7s and won player of the Year for Doha Rugby Club. As well as competing for Qatar at elite level, Hanna provides sport psychology support, currently using her skills to keep her teammates, friends, colleagues and pupils (as she is also a PE teacher in Qatar) motivating during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Sophie Power is a mother of two who has completed some of the toughest ultramarathons in the world. She came to the world's attention when a photograph was taken of her breastfeeding her 3-month-old son during the 106-mile Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc ultramarathon. That photograph starts a global conversation about motherhood and the need to support women to stay active. Sophie is now also a Trustee of Women in Sport and is particularly interested in the effects of differential female psychology
Having qualified as a commercial lawyer in 2012, Victoria has forged a career in sport. Starting with a legal secondment to adidas, she progressed via ITV to a four-year post at UEFA in Switzerland. She now works for Red Bull Media House.Having battle with depression and an eating disorder in her younger years, sport for Victoria became a newly found passion that drove positive change. She achieved things she had previously considered impossible, from road cycling to triathlon, from mountain climbing to skiing. In platform to raise funds for and awareness about Women in Sport.
Xanne Janse De Jong
Xanne Janse De Jong is an academic in Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Newcastle Australia. Areas of focus in Xanne's initial research were the effects of the hormone fluctuations during the menstral cycle on temperature regulation, endurance performance, aerobic performance and muscle function. Xanne has more recently focussed on muscle function research the effects of the exogenous female hormones in oral contraceptives.
Marie-Stéphanie Abouna is an Associate Professor at CY-Ileps (Cergy Paris Université). She is a member of the Laboratory of Information and Communication Sciences (CIMEOS) in Dijon (France). Her research specialises in gender studies, a large part of which focuses on women's sports, particularly football. She is interested in the processes of feminisation of this practice in France and in different European countries.