National Girls and Women in Sports Day 2013: Girls in Sports…An Investment in the Future
From Capitol Hill to hundreds of cities and towns across America, 2013's National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) is one to celebrate women’s and girl’s participation and excellence in sports. While NGWSD started in 1987 as a single event in our nation’s capital to honor Olympic volleyball star Flo Hyman, the day has since grown into a nationwide commemoration spanning all 50 states.
Yesterday, we honored the 27th Annual NGWSD by lobbying on Capitol Hill with champion athletes whose own personal success stories have been shaped by their participation in sports. Foundation Senior Director of Advocacy Nancy Hogshead-Makar, former Board member Lillian Greene-Chamberlain, WSF Athlete Advisory Panel member Grete Eliassen and Foundation friends Emily Hughes, Sarah Hughes and Esther Lofgren began their day in D.C. by asking members of Congress to support the High School Data Bill. Representatives from the NGWSD Coalition -- Girls Inc., the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) and the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) -- were also with us on the Hill.
If passed, the High School Data Bill will require high schools to report and publicize basic information on the number of male and female participants in their athletics programs and the money spent on their sports teams – data crucial to the review and enforcement of Title IX. High schools are not currently required to disclose participation statistics even though they collect it and have it readily available, making it difficult to ensure gender fairness in high school athletics programs. Making the data publicly available is estimated to take only two to eight hours of extra work a year depending on the size of the school.
“I am honored to represent the Women’s Sports Foundation, the Coalition and all female athletes at today’s gathering in Washington, DC,” said Sarah Hughes. “Participation in sports has had a profound impact on my life. I know firsthand what a positive difference it can make. I want America’s girls to have athletic opportunities to enrich their educational experience. We look forward to encouraging legislators to invest in the health and future success of our nation’s girls through sports.”
To further highlight the importance of girls’ participation in sports and the critical need to expand athletic opportunities nationwide, WSF joined NGWSD Coalition for a media briefing and panel discussion. Hogshead-Makar and Sarah Hughes were joined by President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Co-Chair Dominique Dawes, NAGWS’ Shawn Ladda and Neena Chaudhry (NWLC) on the panel.
"Athletics are steroids for academics," Hogshead-Makar told briefing attendees, citing WSF research that shows that girls who participate in sports and regular physical activity are not only healthier, but also perform better in school, have higher graduation rates, have fewer pregnancies and attain greater self-confidence—giving girls the tools they need to become tomorrow’s leaders.
NGWSD is marked annually with events around the country and on Capitol Hill to commemorate the achievements of girls and women in athletics. It is also an important day to promote the continued expansion of opportunities for girls and women to play sports and live physically active lives. View our photo gallery for an in-depth look at our time on the Hill.
View a full list of nationwide NGWSD events here.