The month of February is designated as National Girls & Women in Sports Month in the United States. The month of celebration was established by the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1987. This year, we’re celebrating 36 years of girls and women making progress in sports! Fun fact: Violet Richardson, the first President of Soroptimist, was a Physical Education teacher!
The Women’s Sports Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. Established in 1974, it was the first national philanthropic organization dedicated to women’s athletics.
The organization established February as National Girls & Women in Sports Month in 1987 to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity for girls and women. Over time, this goal has expanded to include promoting equal access to educational opportunities, fostering self-esteem and confidence, preventing eating disorders (especially among female athletes), and reducing sexual harassment towards girls and women on all levels of sports participation.
Girls who play sports are more likely to graduate from high school, have higher self-esteem, have better communication skills, and develop a strong work ethic.
The benefits of playing sports are endless. Whether you’re an athlete or not, getting involved in sports can help you grow as a person.
- Girls who play sports are more likely to graduate from high school, have higher self-esteem, have better communication skills and develop a strong work ethic.
- When young women play on teams together with other girls their age, they gain confidence that leads them into adulthood by helping them navigate difficult situations later on in life with ease because they’ve already experienced them before (i.e., changing schools after graduation). This also applies to adult women who are active while working hard at full-time jobs!
Female athletes set a powerful example for their peers and younger students, helping to encourage participation from future generations.
“Female athletes are role models for younger girls,” says Susan Wetmore, executive director of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “They demonstrate that women can be both physically and emotionally strong. They show how girls can set goals and achieve them through hard work, determination, and perseverance.”
Wetmore adds that female athletes help to encourage participation from future generations as they inspire young people to get involved in sports.
“Female athletes serve as mentors and motivators for all ages,” said Laura Schwecherl, CEO of the National Girls & Women in Sports Day Foundation (NGWSD). “They provide inspiration because they have overcome so many obstacles while achieving success at their sport; they lead by example.”
Girls have come a long way in sports participation, but there’s still work to be done.
While women’s participation in sports has skyrocketed over the past several decades, barriers still exist for female athletes. For example, women are underrepresented in sports leadership roles and female journalists continue to be a minority in sports media. Recent studies indicate that girls are also underrepresented as hosts and analysts on major networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports 1, NBCSN and CBS Sports Network.
- 41% of women’s NCAA teams had a woman head coach. (NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Report)
- 6% of men’s NCAA teams had a woman head coach. (NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Report)
- 14% of all college athletes are BIPOC women. (NCAA Race and Gender Demographics Database)
Show your support
We know that women in sports can make all the difference. They show us how far we’ve come, and they inspire us to keep pushing ourselves. Girls and women need role models of their own, so if you’re a woman who has been successful in athletics or another field—whether as an athlete or not—share your story with other girls and women by tagging #LYDGirlsAndWomenInSportsMonth on social media!