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SHARP: The Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls

SHARP is a partnership between the Women’s Sports Foundation and U-M’s School of Kinesiology and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. We expect SHARP to become a world-class research center and a leading academic authority on the topic of sport, health, and physical activity related to women and girls. Through strategic alliances with leading national and international researchers, our vision is to build on extant understandings to create new knowledge that will inform policy and benefit women and girls.

SHARP’s creation was announced October 12, 2010, at WSF’s annual Salute to Women in Sports at the Waldorf Astoria. In this photo: (Standing from left to right) Don Sabo, Mary Gendron, Billie Jean King, Marj Snyder, Mary Wilson, Yvonne Middleton. (Seated from left to right) Carol Boyd, Kathy Babiak, Stephanie Tolleson, Ann Mara. ©Photographer-Women's Sports Foundation

The SHARP Story

In October 2010 the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports, announced a unique partnership with U-M’s School of Kinesiology and IRWG to establish a center for research on all aspects of girls’ and women’s participation in sports and physical activity. The parties agreed to house the new center in IRWG’s offices in Lane Hall.

SHARP was created to generate rigorous, interdisciplinary social, psychological, and biomedical research on issues related to sports, physical activity, and gender across the lifespan. Further, the findings from SHARP-sponsored research will be used to inform key policy makers and to advocate for social change.

SHARP's Mission

  • SHARP will commission, produce, and disseminate evidence-based research that will enhance the scope and quality of girls’ and women’s experiences with sports and physical activity.
  • As part of its research mission, SHARP will examine the changing opportunities for women’s and girls’ participation in sports and physical activity, as well as the barriers to participation that women and girls face.
  • SHARP will further the understanding of the long-term implications of sports activities on women’s and girls’ lives.
  • SHARP will identify new trends and issues as they emerge.
  • SHARP will alert the media, spark public debate, inform policy making, and foster positive educational outcomes, as part of the research process.

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Photo: Mike Hoff

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