During the last four decades women’s and gender history have become vibrant fields including studies of attitudes regarding the limited physical and other abilities of females as well as studies of the accomplishments of notable female athletes. We have become increasingly aware that women have made contributions to physical education, dance and sport that go far beyond being teachers, athletes and coaches. They have created and implemented an astonishing variety of programs intended to serve the needs of large numbers of children and youth sometimes organizing student health services, as well as chairing departments of physical education. They have worked as directors of sport, physical education and dance, running playgrounds and recreational facilities and have created and/or served as important officers of a variety of sporting organizations.
This book explores the contributions and achievements of women in a variety of historical and geographical contexts which, not surprisingly opens opportunities for additions, revisions and counter-narratives to accepted histories of physical education and sport science. It seeks to broaden our understandings about the backgrounds, motivations and achievements of dedicated women working to improve health and bodily practices in a variety of different arenas and for often different purposes.
This book was previously published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.