My childhood wasn’t really active. Sure I had a bike, a scooter, and my mom signed me up for some soccer camps, but I was never encouraged to engage in sports. My elementary school didn’t have recess, gym class, or even after-school sports clubs, so by the time I got to middle and high school I lacked the desire to participate. It wasn’t until I started skating when I actually felt like being active was a choice I could make, albeit in a female-dominant sport.
Women’s Sports Foundation is a crucial organization to the sports landscape in the country as it aims to bring self-identified women to the field–literally and figuratively. Folks at this organization have identified a lack of female representation both as athletes and as leaders in sports: positions like coaches, directors, even commentators. As far as aspirations go, WSF has high but entirely achievable goals that can greatly change the landscape of leadership. At the end of the day, society needs more female leaders, and what better way to promote leadership than participation in sports.
Mission: We are dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring girls access to sports.Women’s Sports Foundation website
Population: Girls and women of all ages and ethnicities
Women assigned at birth make up over half of the world, yet participate and hold sports positions at lower rates than cisgender men. While female-dominated sports like artistic gymnastics and figure skating give these women a platform to athleticism, the mainstream sports covered by media lack adequate female representation. The misconception that women should be less active than men has been pervasive for centuries. Because of this, cisgender girls are less likely to be active in childhood, which turns into a less active adulthood and promotes preventable health conditions. While it may look more inclusive today than 50 years ago, we still have a long way to go.
Women’s Sports Foundation does so much that it’s hard to succinctly list out without taking up the whole post! As a foundation, WSF awards grants and scholarships for a variety of roles and accomplishments. The Linda Riddle/SGMA Endowed Scholarship is for graduating high school seniors with limited financial means to continue their sports career in college. Sports 4 Life Funding is meant to fund programs that support sports programs for 11-18 year old black and Latinx girls. The WSF Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching encourages the development of female coaches through fellowship. Just these alone speak to the Foundation’s dedication to its mission.
Then there’s programs like GoGirlGo!. As a curriculum to keep elementary, middle, and high school girls involved in physical activity, the program acts as a supportive structure for existing programs in direct contact with the girls. It teaches everything from nutrition and body image to confidence and leadership. Many programs that mean well lack the infrastructure necessary to adequately provide for their communities, but this program helps fulfill that need. Overall, the foundation is dedicated to increase sports participation at all levels of athleticism and behind the scenes on the executive level, which would ultimately empower more women to be present in historically male-dominant spaces.
Ways you can help
I have 2 because why not! It’s for a great cause AND they’re pretty. Oh and I guess they’re multi-functional, but I just sweat in them.
Money solves many problems. Do it for the girls! Your contribution no matter how small is valuable.
Are you a woman with any mild interest in being a coach? Maybe political advocacy is more your style? Savvy in social media campaigns? WSF offers so many ways to help their mission without spending a dime!
Question of the Day!
Are the women in your life as active as the men? How about those that identify outside of the binary?