1136 Lane Hall
204 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI
Phone: 734–764–9537
Fax: 734–764–9533


Join our Mailing List

Women's Sports Foundation Facebook Facebook Follow up on Twitter

SHARP, the Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls, was established in 2010 as a new partnership between the Women’s Sports Foundation and U-M’s School of Kinesiology and the Institute for Research on Women & Gender. SHARP's mission is to lead research that enhances the scope, experience, and sustainability of participation in sport, play, and movement for women and girls. Leveraging the research leadership of the University of Michigan with the policy and programming expertise of the Women's Sports Foundation, findings from SHARP research will better inform public engagement, advocacy, and implementation to enable more women and girls to be active, healthy, and successful.


SHARP's creation was announced October 12, 2010, at WSF’s annual Salute to Women in Sports at the Waldorf Astoria. In this photo: (Standing from left to right) Don Sabo, Mary Gendron, Billie Jean King, Marj Snyder, Mary Wilson, Yvonne Middleton. (Seated from left to right) Carol Boyd, Kathy Babiak, Stephanie Tolleson, Ann Mara. (Photographer-Women’s Sports Foundation)

SHARP’s Mission

  • SHARP will commission, produce, and disseminate research that will enhance the scope and quality of girls’ and women’s experiences with sports and physical activity.
  • As part of its research mission, SHARP will examine the changing opportunities for women’s and girls’ participation in sports and physical activity, as well as the barriers to participation that women and girls face.
  • SHARP will further the understanding of the long-term implications of sports activities on women’s and girls’ lives.
  • SHARP will identify new trends and issues as they emerge.
  • SHARP will alert the media, spark public debate, inform policy making, and foster positive educational outcomes, as part of the research process.

Research Agenda

SHARP will help promote rapid advances in the understanding of gender, exercise, sports (participation and leadership), consumer behavior, and women’s health by promoting interdisciplinary research and creating a new generation of researchers committed to issues surrounding women’s and girls’ physical and sports activities. We expect the research foci of SHARP to be in some or all of the following areas:

  • Olympic participation and leadership
  • Title IX monitoring with regard to participation
  • Healthy weight management across the lifespan
  • Motivation and exercise adherence
  • Youth sports participation
  • Sport, physical activity, and American families
  • Sport, health, and fitness marketing to women and girls
  • Injuries and injury prevention
  • Body image, effects of exercise/sport on the body
  • Management/administrative structures
  • Economic impact of sports participation
  • Sport and urban girls


  • Acquire, develop, and distribute research and program grants
  • Create and maintain a digital platform to house research materials and allow access to literature, datasets, presentations, instruments, teaching modules, policy documents, and links
  • Engage scholars, spokespeople, and staff as advisors and consultants across government, education, sport, and health sectors, and opinion-leader populations
  • Establish interdisciplinary research partnerships on the U-M campus and across the country
  • Train doctoral /postdoctoral students

back to top