Women's Athletics

Beginnings

Women’s athletics began at Western Ontario in the early 1900s with the formation of a basketball team that played in the London city leagues. Other sports developed throughout the 1920s and 1930s through recreational “play days,” intramurals, and invitational competitions with other universities in the province. While university athletics in general were put on hold through the duration of the Second World War, throughout the 1950s and 1960s a number of new sports were added, diversifying the athletic experiences available to women at Western.

Swimming, 1955-56

As was often the case for other female athletes across the country, women at Western faced numerous hurdles in developing athletic programs, and often struggled to receive the support, funding, and access to facilities given so readily to male athletes.

There has also been a quite visible lack of equality in terms of media coverage and recognition of women’s sporting achievements, a trend which is reflected in the documentary record, both at Western and on a larger national stage.  

Badminton, 1965-66

Despite these challenges, the perseverance and dedication of many players, coaches and administrators ensured the development of several very successful intercollegiate programs at Western. The sections within this exhibit celebrate the achievements of female athletes at Western in over twenty different sports. 

Field Hockey, 1987