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July 16, 2019

Gerstner named to governor’s Women in Sports task force

Joanne Gerstner, a faculty member and sports journalist-in-residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism, will serve on a new task force aimed to identify ways to enhance opportunities for girls and women in sports.

In June, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order to establish the 15-member task force to generate ideas and solutions to increase opportunities for girls and women to play sports at all levels and also find careers within the sports industry, with the hope of setting a national model for advancement. It is the first task force of its type in the nation at the state government level.

Gerstner was named to the task force alongside Judi Brown Clarke, the diversity director at MSU’s Bio-Computational Evolution in Action Consortium, or BEACON.

“I am really honored and excited to be part of such a new initiative,” Gerstner said. “Having time to step back, look at where we are in the state of Michigan and then make recommendations for the future with the brain power and experience of this strong group will be a powerful experience.”

Gerstner is the only sports media professional appointed to the task force, bringing an important perspective to the sports industry and gender issues. The task force will be empaneled for three years, meeting regularly around Michigan.

Gerstner is an award-winning multi-platform sports journalist, with her work appearing in The New York Times, USA Today,, The Detroit News, The Cincinnati Enquirer, PGA Magazine and other outlets. She also served as former chair of the board and president of the Association for Women in Sports Media.

Gerstner points to the year that Title IX was passed into law as a major milestone in the history of women’s sports. In 2020, the law will mark its 50th anniversary.

With the help of the other commissioners on the task force, her goal is to work collaboratively with non-governmental organizations and all levels of government to propel more women into leadership – and to propel more women into sports.

“We have few women in significant leadership positions in sports and media organizations,” Gerstner said. “More women than ever are interested in being sports journalists – I see them every day in my classroom. We need to discuss opportunities, innovation and how to harness the talent and energy of Michigan’s women in the sports sphere.”