It’s time to celebrate girls and women in sports throughout the world. National Girls and Women in Sports Day is recognized on February 5. All across the United States people will celebrate little girls, teenage ladies and everyday women that live and breathe sports. Join with others to celebrate these athletes.
President Ronald Reagan started this national day in 1987 proclaiming February 4, 1987 as National Women in Sports Day. This day began as a way to pay tribute to Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman who passed away suddenly during a volleyball tournament due to Marfan’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder of the connective tissue. The day began to evolve into one that pays tribute to all women and girls in sports. It celebrates the progress of women’s athletics and the struggle for equality for men and women in sports.
A Brighter Tomorrow
According to a study done by Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, about 70% of young children drop out of sports by the age of 13. This means many young girls are missing out on a huge opportunity for them. Physical education and athletics is a big part of many girls’ lives. Organized sports help young women develop a health lifestyle, build confidence, show off their leadership skills, maintain their health, and work as a team. These things can be learned early in life, but taken into adulthood.
Leadership and Motivational Skills For The Professional World
Playing on a team enhances those teamwork and leadership skills that get to shine later in life in the workforce. Many current executives say they were young athletes at one time. Growing up working with a team helped them be well-suited for the business world. They were able to deal with ebbs and flows of the business world because they’ve learned to deal with wins and losses. They learn to problem solve at a young age. They learn to adapt to different teammates. They learn how to treat everyone on the team as an equal. Women athletes learn to develop motivational skills, team building skills and time management skills. All of this helps them adjust to the workforce.
Many young ladies find lifelong friendships through sports as well. A team brings women together in good times and bad as they win and lose together. They share their lives together through a sport. Even if they play a sport like tennis or golf where they’re playing without a team, the sports organization as a whole provides them a village of supporters. Women learn to depend on one another.
Equality in Women’s Sports
Women athletes rally for payment and recognition that mirrors men’s athletics. The 2020 Olympics hopes to have 49 percent women athletes. Equality and visibility in the USA might be on the rise, but many other countries have a long road ahead. The Title IX of the Education Act opened the door for women in sports. Before this Act, only 2% of college students in sports were women. Today women make up 43% of college athletes.
The Rise of Women’s Sports
Trailblazers like Billie Jean King have been changing the face of athletics for decades. The USA Women’s Soccer Team broke through barriers and showed the world little girls could grow up to be big leaders. 84% of general sports fans have an interest in women’s sports. Superstar women athletes put the women on the sports map for decades. Even when it wasn’t as popular for them to be on the playing field, they marched on for the love of the game. Nowadays women continue to break through the glass ceiling towards equality for men and women’s sports.
Women like Venus and Serena Williams in the game of tennis sell out crowds just to watch them play. Soccer stars like Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe are household names. Gymnasts like Aly Raisman and Simone Biles continue to push the competition up a few notches. They follow in the footsteps of gymnasts like Mary Lou Retton who competed in a league of their own a few decades ago. Lindsey Vonn puts a spotlight on female skiiers as she is one of only two female skiers to win four World Cup overall championships. Volleyball champion teammates Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings are considered by many to be the greatest beach volleyball team ever, men or women. The list goes on and on. From track teams and WNBA champions to curling teams and softball stars, little girl athletes everywhere are making their names be known. The next generation of icons is only a few years away.
Help support these girls and women in your community. Get involved, go to their games and/or shout your support for these leaders. Hit social media with all the ways sports has influenced the women in your life. Use #GirlsAndWomenInSportsDay to share on social media.