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Invisibility of female participants in midlife and beyond in sport and exercise science research: a call to action
  1. Kelly McNulty1,
  2. Alyssa Olenick2,
  3. Sam Moore3,
  4. Emma Cowley4
  1. 1 Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2 Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical School, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  3. 3 Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  4. 4 Doctoral Training Alliance, University Alliance, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kelly McNulty, Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; kmcnulty{at}kynisca.com

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As the number of females participating in sport and exercise has increased and moved towards parity with males, understanding the specific needs of sportswomen has become increasingly essential. Sadly, the imbalance between the representation of females and males in sport and exercise science research is well-known. For example, in 2021, we published ‘Invisible Sportswomen’: The Sex Data Gap in Sport and Exercise Science Research, which conducted an exploration of the ratio of males and females as participants in sport and exercise science research.1 Results revealed that within 5261 studies, across six popular sport and exercise science journals, females accounted for 34% of total participants, with as little as 6% of studies focusing exclusively on females. However, it is likely that these numbers would be further reduced when investigating the representation of women in midlife and beyond (ie, those who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal) within these female-only studies. While studies in midlife men as participants may also be similarly low and warrant further investigation, in this editorial, we examine the inclusion of female participants in midlife and beyond in sport and exercise science research, highlight the need to include female participants in the midlife and beyond and provide a call to action for researchers in this area to bridge the current data and knowledge gap for …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @kellymcnulty, @SamMooreStrong, @emmacowley44

  • Contributors All authors contributed equally.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.