Playing It Forward: 50 Years of Women and Sport in Canada

Playing It Forward: 50 Years of Women and Sport in Canada


Edited by Guylaine Demers, Lorraine Greaves, Sandra Kirby and Marion Lay


An inspiring collection of stories from women on the front lines of sport.

Intimate and honest accounts from athletes, coaches, educators, and activists for women's sport who have done so much to foster change. 

Many of the women profiled here reflect on their tough beginnings. Being isolated and unconnected, competing in makeshift settings, and training alone with inferior equipment. But they also remember the joys of movement, teamwork, and competition. These women grew to be remarkable role models and helped to dismantle sexism in sport. 

To read these stories is to take pride in their victories, to empathize with their battles against discrimination, and to become reenergized for the many hurdles left to clear.

“It is hard to put into context how much the world of sport has changed. This book helps us remember the distance we have come and the enormous debt we owe to women who fought for inclusion and equal support.” - Silken Laumann, Canadian Olympian

A Feminist History Society Book

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About the Editors

  • Guylaine Demers is an academic, a key figure in the Quebec movement for women's sport, and a leader in the development of women and sport in Canada. She lives in Quebec City.

  • Lorraine Greaves is a leader in improving women's health in Canada and internationally. She is based in Toronto and Vancouver.

  • Sandra Kirby is a former Olympic rower and an academic specializing in abuse and human rights in the sports movement. She lives in Winnipeg.

  • Marion Lay is an Olympic medalist in swimming and a long-time activist for women and sport. She lives in Vancouver.

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Product Information

  • Release: September 1, 2014

  • $24.95 Paperback

  • 392 Pages

  • 6 x 9

  • Adult Nonfiction

  • ISBN: 9781927583517

Praise for Playing It Forward

"Among these stories and essays are profiles of women who excelled in competition, but also those lesser-known heroes who laboured behind the scenes to create opportunities, gain media coverage, and change policy and law. Playing It Forward is a history book, a resource, and an attempt to ensure that the work of Canadian women to break down barriers in a (still) largely male dominated arena is not forgotten." - Quill & Quire

"For anyone who is or has been involved in women's sports as an athlete, coach, official, administrator or parent, Playing it Forward will open many eyes to the myriad issues women have faced over the past 50 years, and to what has been achieved by those courageous enough to fight for their right to play, compete and participate on an equal footing with men. It should be required reading in women's studies and Canadian sports history courses across the country." - The Telegraph-Journal