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Champion women’s sports in February

ChampionwomenssportsWhen: February 2, 2011

What: Sports are a positive part of many women’s lives. In young girls, athletic participation helps spur social development and increase self-esteem. As female athletes grow older, sports can give them more opportunities through college scholarships. The health benefits of regular exercise pay off throughout life as well. To promote the importance of sports for women and help ensure equality for female athletes, Feb. 2 is National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

 

Background: National Girls and Women in Sports Day is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It was founded in 1987 by the National Girls and Women in Sports Coalition, which is made up of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Incorporated, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports, National Women’s Law Center, and the Women’s Sports Foundation. The day began as a remembrance of Flo Hyman, an Olympic volleyball player who died in 1986 due to complications caused by Marfan syndrome, which is a genetic disorder of the connective tissue. Hyman was not only an accomplished athlete but a champion of equality in women’s sports. Today, National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebrates all female athletes and works to overcome discrimination issues women and girls might still face. This year’s theme is “Play, Believe, Achieve.”

Story Pitch: The event is a great opportunity for sports educators and recreation directors to promote sports opportunities and share how sports and athletics play a positive role in girls’ lives. Health organizations can advocate sports participation as a fun way for girls and women to stay healthy, while also raising awareness of how to prevent injury. Colleges and universities can use the day to promote their sports scholarships and show how they work to keep sports programs accessible to all their athletes.

Story Hook: Since Title IX was passed in 1972 prohibiting educational institutions from sex-based discrimination, high schools and colleges have put more money and resources into their women’s athletic programs. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has found that since the early 90’s, the number of female athletes at colleges around the country has not only steadily risen, but that these students have the highest graduation rates of all. Why do athletics have such a positive impact on young women? How can girls keep up their sports participation into adulthood? Consider the following when making your pitch:

  • How can girls find local sports activities to try? What are age-appropriate sports?
  • What kinds of injuries are more common among female athletes?
  • What are the most popular sports for girls and women to participate in?
  • What are some reasons girls avoid sports? What are some reasons girls love sports?

Tips: Provide the contact information for a local female athlete who can talk about how she was motivated to participate in sports and what kind of support has helped her along the way. A woman who works in sports can also speak about the importance of women being involved in sports and the career opportunities in the field.

Resources:

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
(703) 476-3400
www.aahperd.org

National Association for Girls and Women in Sports
(703) 476-3452
nagws(at)aahperd.org
www.aahperd.org/nagws

National Collegiate Athletic Association
(317) 917-6222
www.ncaa.org

Women’s Sports Foundation
www.womenssportsfoundation.org

–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
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