The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) have partnered to advance the quality and equality of athletic opportunities for women.

The collaboration between the 112-year-old organization and the university positions UNCG as a flagship for research into girls and women in sport and physical activity and gives the university access to nationally recognized figures in the field and other resources, said Dr. Donna Duffy, an assistant professor of kinesiology who co-wrote the proposal to collaborate with NAGWS with Dr. Paige Hall Smith.

NAGWS began a national search for an academic partner in the fall of 2009. UNCG was chosen from five finalists, gaining an edge based on the institution’s strong historical legacy in physical education, athletics and coaching dating back to its Woman’s College days, Duffy said.
Another draw for the organization was the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness, an established source of evidence-based academic research housed in UNCG’s School of Health and Human Performance, and a strong base of alumni and stakeholders committed to creating and advancing opportunities for girls and women. Smith serves as the center’s director.

“It is an exciting time in the history of NAGWS to have established the collaboration with UNCG,” said Dr. Shawn Ladda, past president of the organization. “NAGWS members and leaders are impressed with the UNCG tradition and commitment to equity and look forward to working to strengthen our shared missions.”

NAGWS promotes the development and delivery of equitable and quality sport opportunities for all girls and women through relevant research, advocacy, leadership development, educational strategies and programming with an emphasis on social justice and change. The organization, which has about 3,000 members, is one the five associations in The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

At UNCG, the work of NAGWS will go hand-in-hand with the Program for the Advancement of Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity (PAGWSPA), a program founded in 2010 to further advance physical activity opportunities for girls and women through evidence-based scholarship and research, education and service.

More than a century after the founding of NAGWS — and almost 40 years after the passage of Title IX — the organization still has a vital mission, said Dr. Lynda Ransdell, president of NAGWS. “Today, there is still much work to be done to assure girls and women access to equitable opportunities in sport and physical activity. Through this new partnership, we will be able to make a greater impact.”

Duffy agreed. “There’s still a lack of quality and equality for women and girls in sports,” she said. “The issue is that people have accepted this as status quo.”

Among the joint projects for NAGWS and the PAGWSPA is the first National Conference on Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity planned for October.

Contact Lanita Withers Goins at ldgoins@uncg.edu or 336-334-3890.