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Public Invited to Celebrate Women's Athletics at Global Summit on Women and Sports

More than just fun and games, sports participation by women has been proven to foster literacy, reduce unwanted pregnancy, improve health and increase access to social and political rights.

Expanding educational and sports opportunities for girls and women around the world is the theme of the 50th anniversary conference of the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women (IAPESGW), a conference expected to draw 100 of the world's most influential women in sports and physical education to Smith College July 7-10.

Representing more than 30 countries-including Australia, Barbados, Brazil, China, Colombia, Croatia, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States-the participants will address topics ranging from "Sexual Harassment in Physical Training" to "Curriculum 2000: Feminist Approaches to Physical Education" to "The Role of Governments and NGOs in Linking Women's Sport and Women's Empowerment."

Conference organizer Christine Shelton, associate professor of exercise and sports studies at Smith, notes that many conference events are open to the public. As this is only the second U.S. meeting of the association in its history, local residents and schoolchildren are encouraged to attend the public events and to welcome the international visitors to Northampton.

Public events of the IAPESGW conference include the following:

6:00 p.m., Wed., July 7: Opening Ceremonies, Sweeney Auditorium, Sage Hall. Following a multi-media presentation highlighting women's athletic achievement around the world, former Smith College president (1975-85) Jill Ker Conway presents the conference's keynote address. A scholar of women's lives and a best-selling author, Conway has analyzed the role of physical education and sport in the empowerment of women internationally. Under Conway's direction, Smith entered intercollegiate athletic competition and established a number of world-class athletic facilities.

9:00 a.m., Thursday, July 8: Opening Plenary, Wright Hall Auditorium. Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation and a leading advocate for gender equity and athletic opportunity for women, addresses a plenary session discussing the challenges facing women athletes. Gertrud Pfister of Frei Universitat, Berlin, president of the International Sport History Association, traces women's achievements in athletics. IAPESGW President Margaret Talbot, M.B.E., of Leeds Metropolitan University, England, discusses the future for women's sports on the international scene.

10:00 a.m., Thurs., July 8: "To Gain a Better International Understanding: The World and Work of Dorothy Ainsworth," an exhibit, opens in the Smith College Archives, located in Alumnae Gym, a wing of Neilson Library. Ainsworth, a 1916 Smith graduate, directed the college's physical education program from 1926 to 1960 and was visionary in her commitment to developing international ties throughout the field of physical education. A founder of IAPESGW in 1949, Ainsworth presided over it until 1961 and remained an active member for the rest of her life. (The organization now has members in five continents and more than 40 countries; its 50th "birthday" will be celebrated by conference participants at a gala party Thursday evening July 8). The exhibit will continue throughout the conference, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m weekdays.

June 18, 1999


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