Women make up roughly half of the world's population, yet their opportunity, representation and pay in sports is dwarfed by their male counterparts.
As female representation in high school sports continues to grow (nearly 3.5 million participants in the USA) they still only have 42% of the opportunities that are offered to their male classmates. This disparity continues to expand through the collegiate and professional levels.
The opportunity for women participation is scarce, the pay is meager, and the public image and backlash of how women should or shouldn’t look/play continues to put women in the backstage and makes true equality inaccessible.
The first Men’s Soccer World Cup took place in 1930 while the first female World Cup took place in 1991; 61 years later. Even more disturbing; men’s soccer was first introduced in the Olympics in 1900, meanwhile the ladies didn’t get a chance to play until 1996, nearly a century later. These disparities and lack of opportunities are what continue to hold women back and ensure that they will never be able to compete with the boys. Even when it comes to fitness-based sports, women have not been allowed to participate. The first Boston Marathon took place in 1897, but it wasn’t until 1967 that a woman was able to register.
These timelines start to show a drastic picture of why women’s sports tend to fall behind the men. It is simple, they have been kept off the field for almost a century. That’s a lot of catch up! Regardless, women have continued to be persistent and continued to break barriers that they were never “supposed to”.
It is important for our communities, culture, and corporations to include women in sports and provide them equal opportunities. It is important for us all to work towards eliminating derogatory phrases or behavior towards girls.
When and why did “punch like a girl” become an insult?
Check out this inspiring video on what it means to be #LIKEAGIRL
It is important for girls to know that there are opportunities. It is important for girls to see “themselves” on the big screen. Otherwise, they get left in the dark.
INSPIRATIONAL ATHLETES IN COMBAT SPORTS
- Kayla Harrison: sexual abuse + scars forever
Won the first Gold Medal by any American (man or woman) in the history of the sport of judo 2012 Olympics in London.
- Claressa Shields: poverty + abuse led to boxing + the Olympics
Undisputed female middleweight champion of the world + one of only seven boxers in history, female or male, to hold all four major world titles in boxing—WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO.
INSPIRATIONAL LEADERS IN SPORTS BUSINESS
- Ellie Norman: Director of Marketing and Communications, Formula 1 – One of the biggest voices at one of the sport’s largest global organizations and a true leader, in a sport stereotypically male-dominated.
- Cathy Engelbert: Commissioner, WNBA – After overseeing her first season as commissioner of the WNBA in 2019 she will be looking to continue the league’s continual growth this summer. She was previously Deloitte’s first-ever female CEO.
- Fatma Samoura: Secretary-General, FIFA – A key figure at one of, if not the biggest organization within all of sport, for many years she has been, and continues to be, a leader for women aiming to move into sport.
- Mary Davis: CEO, Special Olympics – Davis has led the Special Olympics as CEO since 2016 but been involved with the organization for many years in a variety of roles since leaving fulltime education.
- Clare Connor: Managing Director – Women’s Cricket, ECB – A legendary player who captained her country during her career, Connor has spent a number of years in the governance space as she continues to grow the game of cricket for women and girls in the UK, recently spearheading a new campaign to transform the sport.
- Nita Ambani: Owner, Mumbai Indians – Ambani has led her Mumbai Indians franchise to become the most successful in IPL history and has been involved in many sports projects across different sports in the country.
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