Simple ideas for showing support to the girls and women doing sports in your community.
Photo by Cheryl Holt/Pixabay.
It’s always a great time to support and celebrate girls and women in sports, but each February, there’s an extra special reason to gather your team to do so: Feb. 7, 2018, marks the 32nd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day. It’s a day, originally designated by the NGWSD Coalition, to honor extraordinary achievements in girls’ and women’s sports and the positive influence athletic participation brings to their lives. Indeed, 96% of female CEOs recently said they participated in sports when they were younger.
For this year, the theme for the day is “Play Fair, Play IX” — a way of highlighting the 1972 law that ensures students receive educational opportunities free from discrimination based on gender. It’s a short and simple law, but it has changed the future for a number of girls and women in sports, from two-time Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy to tennis icon Billie Jean King.
Although Title IX has expanded the possibilities for female athletes, many schools across the country still don’t comply in providing equal opportunities for girls to participate in sports, which means awareness is more important than ever before.
There are many different ways to be a part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Here are a few ideas to get you started, including suggestions from the NGWSD Coalition:
- \nCOLLEGE ATHLETE VISITS. Arrange for college athletes to visit middle schools to discuss the life of a successful female in collegiate sports. Hold a “breakfast of champions” event and invite a few local female stars or perhaps expand and create a leadership conference or series of visits with female coaches or retired players. Proactively reach out to community organizations, such as Women’s Sports Foundation or Girls, Inc., that can connect you with girls who may need to hear messages of perseverance the most.
- \nWALL OF HONOR. Construct a “wall of honor” with sports photos and memorabilia showcasing the athletic achievements of girls and women. This is a great, low-cost activity for classrooms with students of all ages and for sports teams that seek to learn more about the heroes who came before them. Check out the public library, The Olympic Channel, or YouTube for inspiration. NGWSD Coalition encourages participants to share their inspiration on Instagram with the hashtag #NGWSD so others can join in.
- \nMOVIE PARTY. Throw a movie party that focuses on girls and women in sports. Suggested movie titles include “A League of Their Own,” “Love and Basketball,” “The Mighty Macs,” “Bend It Like Beckham,” “Little Giants,” “Gracie,” and “Blue Crush.” Star athletes have said they were inspired by the movies, so remember — positive pop culture representations matter. An alternative idea is to organize a book club with similar themes.
- \nHOST A SPORTS CLINIC. Some sports have traditionally offered greater opportunities for participation and access for girls than others, so why not host a day of workshops for the sports that don’t always get the limelight? Lacrosse, hockey, martial arts, and many other options are all great ways for girls to try out something new. Seek expertise from the NGWSD Coalition, who might already be hosting a clinic near you.
- \nUSE YOUR VOICE. Contact your representatives in Congress and encourage others to do the same. Ask them to continue supporting girls and women in sports and Title IX. If you’re particularly passionate about the issue or have a personal experience, you might also consider writing an op-ed article or working with school or university representatives to raise awareness through printed posters that explain Title IX rights.