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Commission on Women & Gender

The Women and Gender Commission started as the World Leisure and Recreation Association (WLRA) Task Force on Women in 1989 with the purpose of raising “the visibility of women and gender issues within the Association and to advocate for the inclusion of leisure in the world-wide agenda that addresses women’s issues” (Henderson, 1996, p. 33). Since then, first as a Task Force, and as a Commission since 2000, the members have continued to work on gender equity issues, both in terms of increasing the body of knowledge about women and leisure that was largely absent from the field until the 1980s and as a voice advocating for women’s participation in leadership positions within and outside of the World Leisure Organization (WLO).

More information about the history of the commission can be found in these papers:
• Gibson, H. (2012). World Leisure Commissions - Updates: The Women and Gender Commission. World Leisure Journal, 2012. Vol. 54, No. 4, 363-364.
• Henderson, K. A., & Bialeschki, D. (1991). Women and leisure: An introduction. World Leisure and Recreation, 33(3), 4-5.
• Henderson, K. A. (1996). WLRA Task Force on Women focuses on “women’s voices.” World Leisure and Recreation, 38(3), 33-35.

• To provide a communication network for individuals both within and outside the organization to address global issues related to women, gender, and leisure.
• To monitor, study, advocate for, and improve the lives of women and men pertaining to recreation and leisure on a world-wide basis.
• To offer professional support for women practitioners, educators, and researchers within World Leisure and to facilitate the discussion of women and gender related issues.
• To work toward greater representation and involvement of women within the leadership and governing structure of World Leisure.

The Feminist Leisure Scholar Oral History Project: It is our current focus. Our Commission has partnered with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Center at the University of Florida (USA). As many of our key scholars in feminist leisure studies have or are soon to retire we are conducting oral history interviews with them to create an online resource that can be accessed by all who are interested in leisure studies from a gender perspective. All are welcome to help with interviews, transcribing, and suggesting potential interviewees.

A) To nominate someone as a potential interviewee, please send an email with the nominee’s name, contact information if you know it, and a sentence or two about their contribution to leisure studies to [email protected] or [email protected]

B) if you would like to contribute an entry to the oral history project please send an e-mail of intent to [email protected] or [email protected]

2014 World Leisure Congress (Mobile, Alabama, USA): The Commission organized two sessions: Workshop delivered by Liza Berdychevsky (University of Illinois) on using Atlas to analyze qualitative data. The Commission also sponsored a research paper sessions with three presenters.

White paper for the UNICEF and UN women's evidence gathering to address inequalities in the post-2015 global development agenda: leisure as a site of inequality and a means of addressing inequality. Cara Aitchison and Karla Henderson coordinated this paper. More details can be found in the World Leisure Journal, 2013. Vol 55, No. 2, 193-203.

2012 World Leisure Congress (Rimini, Italy): The Commission organized two sessions at the Congress. The first, facilitated by Karla Henderson and Cara Aitchison, tacked several issues pertinent to the mission of the Commission as we move away from an era of leadership offered by the "founding mothers of leisure studies" now that these leaders are retiring. It provided an opportunity to contemplate the future of women and leisure research and the state of higher education for the study of leisure and feminist studies, and more generally for women working in university settings.

The second session included the business meeting of the Commission as well as a discussion of a proposed oral history project to maintain the legacy of the founding mothers before we lose many of their voices from the field.

Chair: Heather Gibson
Email: [email protected]
University of Florida - USA

Facebook Group: Women, Gender, Leisure Research Network

We Foster Inquiry

Research and scholarship to discover the personal and social potentialities of leisure experiences.

We Engage in Informed Advocacy

By advocating for conditions optimizing leisure experiences: legislation, infastructure, leadership and programming.