Girls on fire: an investigation of alternative movement pedagogies to promote inclusion, resilience and engagement of young women in physical activity

Lambert, K. (Contributor)

Activity: Community Talks, Presentations, Exhibitions and EventsPublic lecture/debate/seminar


Local and global policy initiatives, guidelines, inquiries and research tell us repeatedly that there is a fundamental ‘problem’ associated with gender and movement. This ‘problem’ spans and has significance for a multitude of agencies working across government, health and education. What few of these agencies do is tell us what works or what might work as a response to ongoing gender inequities. In short if the ‘problems’ are lack of engagement, exclusionary movement practices, poor health outcomes, unimaginative pedagogical options, competitive environments, low self esteem, drop out and quitting … we know all too little about what the ‘solutions’ are or could be. The question begs - is anyone doing something different to motivate, engage and retain girls and women in movement or physical activity pursuits?

In the United States of America a group of professional women are doing something different. They are professional fire and emergency services personnel, and their pedagogy is ‘youth fire fighter camps’. These personnel claim to be providing girls with unique, embodied and inclusive alternative forms of movement pedagogies and practices with health and wellbeing as well as recruitment and retention spin-offs. Could this be an example of the sort of innovative ‘alternative’ that offers ‘a solution’? Might their experiences help us reconceive the kinds of movements young women are interested in and attached to, and to redesign movement pedagogies for engagement, enjoyment and bodily pleasure? This paper shares details about a project that aims to investigate the potential of the North American youth fire fighter camp structure and design to provide an alternative pedagogical model for the engagement and retention of young women in physical activity.
Event titleInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2015
Event typeConference
LocationFremantle, Australia, Western Australia