Lyndsay Hayhurst

Lyndsay Hayhurst is a York Research Chair (Tier II) in Sport, Gender, Development and Digital Participatory Research, and an Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University in Toronto, Canada. She is an award-winning sociologist of sport and feminist physical culture, and her research interests include sport for development (SFD); sexual and gender-based violence prevention and sexual and reproductive health rights promotion in/through SFD; cultural studies of youth, de/anti-/postcolonial feminist theory, global governance and corporate social responsibility.

She has published over 60 articles and chapters on these topics, and is a co-author (with Holly Thorpe and Megan Chawansky) of Sport, Gender and Development: Intersections, Innovations and Future Trajectories (2021). Dr. Hayhurst’s research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Sport, Gender and Development: Intersections, Innovations and Future Trajectories

View: Sport, Gender and Development: Intersections, Innovations and Future Trajectories

Her current research uses digital feminist participatory action research to: 1) critically investigate the use of the bicycle as a possible catalyst for achieving mobility justice, gender equity, and global development; 2) address physical inactivity and assess inequities amongst highly marginalized pregnant and/or parenting self-identified women (*cis and trans) and youth who are affected by violence and trauma; and 3) examine how SFD programs may create novel possibilities for feminist climate justice activism and educational strategies to prevent SGBV. She has previously worked for the United Nations Development Programme and Right to Play.

Tweets by Bicycles4Dev


Lyndsay’s past and current research focuses on three interconnected areas:

1. Girl-focused sport for development interventions, particularly those that aim to: a) prevent gender-based violence through self-defence activities such as boxing and martial arts; and b) improve the sexual and reproductive health, education and socio-economic status of young marginalized women and girls through sport, particularly Indigenous youth in the global North (Canada and Australia) and in Sub-Saharan Africa;

2. The unintended consequences and impacts that global gender-focused development campaigns – which position girls as agents of social change (e.g., as situated vis-à-vis Nike Foundation’s “Girl Effect” campaign) – have on targeted beneficiaries, their nations, families and communities; and

3. Community-engaged, postcolonial feminist participatory action research that explores the growing involvement of non-state actors (e.g., corporations, non-government organizations, private foundations, etc.) in the development and “empowerment” of young women and girls through sport for development interventions (particularly in the global South and in Indigenous communities across the global North).

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Lyndsay is incredibly proud of the students she has had the privilege to work with, many of whom have won a number of outstanding awards, fellowships and scholarships such as those from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Ontario Graduate Scholarships.



Graduated Students and Alumni