My academic background began initially in Sport and Exercise Science as an undergraduate at Middlesex University. During this time, I developed a growing interest in the psychological elements of this degree, leading me to undertake a psychology conversion year (MSc Psychology), also at Middlesex, followed by my MSc in the Psychology of Sport and Exercise here at Loughborough. My own participation as a novice strongwoman competitor sparked my research interest in female strength sport participation and led me to continue my study at Loughborough and begin my PhD in the Department of Social Sciences.
My research aims to explore the notion of female strength and power through a specific examination of strongwoman, otherwise known as female strength athletics. In recent years there has been a burgeoning interest in ‘strength sports’ for women. However, societal ideologies regarding the gender-appropriateness of activities pose challenges to women’s participation in traditionally ‘masculine’ sports. Whilst proponents argue that a focus on strength for women is empowering, others cite concern that these activities can become recuperated into heterosexual normative gender roles. The extant research has focused largely on bodybuilding, an aesthetically judged sport in which female participants have been restricted by ‘femininity rules’. Responding to a lack of research on the sport of strongwoman, my research aims to further our understanding of female strength and power, as well as contribute to debates about the potential empowering nature of strongwoman and what it means for those taking part.
I have also worked as a Community Cricket Coach for Essex County Cricket Board and Chance to Shine, launching the East London Girls' Streetchance (now Chance to Shine Street) Project in May 2013, with the aim of increasing female cricket participation in the area.