Sociology, Grant

Sociology professor Travers awarded $19,860 seed grant

March 12, 2021

We are excited to share the news that Professor of Sociology Travers was recently awarded a two-year Seed Grant in the 2021 competition from the Canadian Gender + Equity in Sport Research Hub (E-Alliance). The grant is for the amount of $19,860, and was made possible through funding from Sport Canada.

Travers will serve as the principal investigator for the project, titled "Gender+ Equity in Youth Baseball." They will work alongside Dominique Falls of Douglas College and Jennifer Berdahl of UBC, in partnership with Little League Baseball CanadaBaseball Canada and Baseball BC.

The research will involve surveys completed by coaches and league administrators; interviews with women coaches; and interviews and focus groups with groups of girls who are currently playing baseball as well as girls and young women who have left baseball for softball. The goal is to understand how gender is ‘done’ in a way that often excludes girls from baseball and produces a gendered and inequitable division of labour among adult volunteers. By doing so, the hope is to make visible the social forces that result in a disproportionate number of girls dropping out of baseball and to counter sexist and essentialist arguments that this simply reflects an outcome based on 'natural' interests and dispositions.

At the same time, the project seeks to do more than ensure that the most privileged girls have access to baseball but to apply an intersectional lens to understand barriers to participation for a range of children, many of whom are girls. A working hypothesis, according to Travers, is that the processes that are driving girls out of baseball are also discouraging other children from participating.

As a sociologist and longtime youth baseball coach, Travers has inevitably viewed their coaching experiences through a sociological lens. This funding will allow them to formalize their sociological analysis of youth baseball, while complementing their past research exploring adult participation in sport and the experiences of trans kids in sport.