the Women's World Cup win is a good start, but there's still work to be done
As a past female athlete and mom of a girl, I loved seeing the US women take home the world cup with a strong message, gender equality matters.
Before Title IX, just 40 years ago, it would have been hard to imagine the explosion of girls’ and women’s involvement with sports and physical activity. However it’s been 40 plus years and boys still receive more athletic opportunities than girls in all community settings.
Playing sports at a young age is a great way to participate in confidence-building activities. However, quotes like “throw like a girl”, “run like a girl” or the press asking professional female athletes about their outfits are not only demeaning but they decrease self-worth. One study found that women’s sports on ESPN and Fox Sports accounted for only 1% of total airtime. Despite 40% of athletes in college and professional sports being female, only 4% of media coverage focused on women’s sports. What is this teaching our girls and young women?
While women in sports still face monumental challenges in their quest for recognition, equality and leadership opportunities, they have made great strides toward transforming the meaning and practice of sports. Today the legal battles for equality in sports participation, leadership and market share are being waged daily across the United States and around the world. And it is women who have become the most active change agents in sports.
My hope is that once my elementary school daughter reaches her teenage years, these discussions and debates will be a thing of the past and a discussion she will never have to have.