Considering the topic of this blog, I wouldn’t be doing it much service if I went without dedicating a post to National Girls & Women in Sports Day. Created 31 years National Girls & Women in Sports Day, “has empowered women and girls to get moving, embrace physical activity and push past their limits. The courage, confidence and character gained through sports participation are the very tools girls need to become the strong leaders of tomorrow, ” according to the website. The organization recognizes dedicated athletes, coaches, parents, athletic directors and lawmakers. Naturally, espnW was in on the celebration.
Women’s sports and female athletes are constantly fighting to earn the same recognition as their male counterparts. This day is an important way to honor women in sports and show support for younger generations of girls in sports. The support has to come from everyone, however, not just other women. It has to come from male athletes, like this excellent quote from LeBron James:
“I just think you give respect where respect is due, at the end of the day. No matter if you’re a male or female,” James said. “If you’re playing at the highest level in your respective sport, you should get respect where respect is due. Over the course of time we’ve seen so many great female athletes — from Serena [Williams] obviously, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Diana Taurasi in the basketball world. I could go on and on about how women have done so many great things. The women who do the sideline [reporting] as well. We have Doris Burke who does an amazing job and they have to and will continue to transcend the game. It’s not all about males; it’s about equality.”
The support also has to come from broadcasting organizations and other sports media companies in the form of a dedication to covering women’s sports. And finally, support has to come from parents and coaches, in encouraging girls to break boundaries and participate in an sport they choose. Giving girls the confidence to pursue whichever activity they choose is crucial. Breaking the often-negative stigma that female athletes face (too “butch”, not feminine enough) is crucial. Offering women the same opportunities as men in sports is so crucial.
It is unlikely that this day will change the entire culture of women’s sports. But if it advances the conversation, then that’s a start, and it gives me a spark of hope for equality.