Annick Davisse, an innovative advocate for gender equality in the field of physical education (1961–2018)

Research papers
By Cécile Ottogalli-Mazzacavallo, Loïc Szerdahelyi

In terms of gender equality, physical education (PE) made a full U-turn at the end of the twentieth century, shifting from a discipline based mainly on gender division to a system with a more egalitarian organizational and didactic dynamic. However, while this transformation was part of a political and social context that saw women’s rights improve in all areas of life, it also reflected a dynamic that was specific to the field of PE, in which Annick Davisse was a standout figure. Based on an analysis of various interviews and publications, this article examines her career path and highlights why she has been a cornerstone of the social innovation process to achieve gender equality. As a PE teacher, a trade union and political activist, and later a regional school inspector for PE, Annick Davisse constantly moved up the ladder to reach positions of power that allowed her to rally support around the fight to help the most “disadvantaged” students in schools, a category that could be said to include girls in PE. Thus, over the course of her career, she conceptualized and disseminated a didactic and pedagogical approach geared toward improving girls’ chances of success in the discipline. Supported by international policies aimed at eliminating discrimination against women, many of her proposals were picked up and incorporated into the official school PE curricula of the late twentieth century, although not without a few distortions and manipulations.

  • PE
  • key figure
  • social innovation
  • diversity
  • equality.
Go to the article on