Support for women and girls in sports is up to all of us.
Sports can have an overwhelming positive impact on the lives of girls and women. Studies show girls and women who play sports experience better academic performance, employment, and health. Sports can even instill the exceptional work ethic, drive, teamwork, and people & leadership skills that equip women for influential non-sports careers. For example, research on women C-suite executives reveals that 94% played sports in some capacity, and 52% played at the university level or higher. Unfortunately, there are several obstacles standing between female athletes and their ability to pursue a passion for sports and to reap the benefits that follow.
Girls and women don’t get the same athletic opportunities, incentives, exposure, or mentorship as male athletes. For instance, only 28% of youth sports coaches are women, and women’s sports represent just 4% of sports media coverage in the U.S. These examples are part of a bigger inequality problem, one that leads girls to be twice as likely as boys to drop out of sports by age 14, letting go of the benefits that come with being a woman in sports.
There are many ways to support women’s sports as a fan. You can buy tickets for women’s sports and wear branded gear to cheer on your team and your favorite players. When women’s sports are on TV, be sure to tune in or throw a watch party to get your family and friends interested. There are also several women sports causes and advocacies you can join. You will surely find a cause relating to women and athletics that you’re passionate about. Whether you donate, promote, or support from behind the scenes, your contribution and care go a long way.
Learn more about these organizations:
- WOMEN’S SPORTS FOUNDATION
Alongside founder Billie Jean King, the Women’s Sports Foundation has sought sports opportunities for women and girls ” through research, advocacy, community impact, and partnerships” since 1974. Volunteer for their projects and share them online.
- IOC WOMEN IN SPORT COMMISSION
The International Olympic Committee’s Women in Sport Commission backs up women and sports by increasing participation, developing projects and skills, and reporting on and advocating for well-being and rights for women and girls. Check out their gender equality reports, news, projects, and guidelines, and look them up on LinkedIn.
- WOMEN SPORT INTERNATIONAL
Since 1994, WSI has worked for “increased opportunities and positive change for women and girls at all levels of involvement in sport and physical activity.” Look into their resources and initiatives, share their news stories on social media, and sign up to become a member.
- HER TIME TO PLAY
This NBA initiative enables women and girls to “connect, collaborate, and actively engage with one another through the game of basketball.” Get the toolkit to facilitate their curriculum, explore their practice plans, and learn about the importance of female coaches.
- CHAMPION WOMEN
Champion Women is a “non-profit organization that provides legal advocacy for girls and women in sports.” Skim through their library of social media graphics to share, look up schools’ gender equality ratings, sign up for the newsletter, and donate to their cause.
- MIA HAMM FOUNDATION
While assisting patients and families in need of marrow and cord blood donations, the Mia Hamm Foundation also promotes “opportunities for young women in sports. “You can follow the foundation on Facebook and Twitter, donate, or contact them to take part in their mission.
Galvanize by Laura Okmin teams up with women “through boot camps, virtual camps and continued connectivity all year round” for networking and professional development on the business and media side of the sports industry. Sign up for a boot camp, watch or listen to their content.
Olympic track medalist Alysia Montaño co-founded &Mother to provide “direct individual support of athletes who are mothers” and to battle maternity discrimination against women. You can donate, connect on Instagram or Twitter, and browse their professional resources.
- EQUAL PLAY
At Goal Five, they believe in the power of women and girls, and aim to help them harness that power through sports. They strive to make that happen for girls of every race and socioeconomic status through initiatives, donating profits and products, and global partnerships with organizations including Moving the Goalposts and Soccer Without Borders.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO SUPPORT WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SPORTS?