Benefits of Sport: The Universal Truths

This much we know is true: sport is one of the most important socio-cultural learning experiences for girls. Aside from the known health benefits yielded by regular participation in sports and physical fitness, there are countless intangibles girls can take away from sports. These lessons will last a lifetime, long after the final high school soccer game or swim team race. Our almost four-decades-long commitment to making sure every girl has the opportunity to learn these lessons has uncovered some universal truths everyone must know. They are:

• High school girls who play sports are less likely to be involved in an unintended pregnancy; more likely to get better grades in school and more likely to graduate than girls who do not play sports.

• Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression.

• Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.

• Females who participate in high school sports are more likely to complete college than those who did not participate in sports.

• As little as four hours of exercise a week may reduce a teenage girl’s risk of breast cancer by up to 60%; breast cancer is a disease that afflicts one out of every eight American women.

• Through sports, girls learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership and confidence.

• Female athletes who participate on one or two school or community sports teams are significantly less likely to smoke regularly than female non-athletes.

• Sports are an asset to American families, fostering communication and trust between parents and children.

• More than three-quarters of working women feel that sports participation helps enhance their self-image.

• Girls’ involvement with sports is related to higher levels of family satisfaction, in both single-parent and dual-parent families.

• High school female athletes have more positive body images than non-athletes.

How are we helping ensure the successful future of our girls? Learn more about our award-winning GoGirlGo! program here.

Our Mission

The Women’s Sports Foundation is a non-profit that advances the lives of women through sports and physical activity.

About the Foundation


High Schooler Sydney Sachs to share her experience with GoGirlGo!

Sydney Sachs is a 17-year-old high school senior from Chicago, Illinois. A former member of the U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastics team for six years, Sachs has since turned her attention toward preparing for college. Not one to be away from physical activity for long, Sachs came to us and asked about running her own GoGirlGo! program for underserved girls in Chicago. In a new weekly blog series, guest-blogger Sachs will share her experience as she teaches our award-winning GoGirlGo! curriculum.

WSF CEO Kathryn Olson to the Chicago Tribune: Expert Advice for Girls Reluctant to Play Sports

It happens all the time. Because of our role as the leading voice for girls and women in sports, people come to us with the very same question: “How can I get my hesitant daughter (or sister or friend or granddaughter) to be more excited about participating in sports?” The answers are endless, but above everything else, we always encourage adults to be supportive, encouraging and active alongside their girls, leading by example with a healthy lifestyle.

Jennifer Goodman Linn: Living Fearless

"I will be a living role model to others, demonstrating that without fear, anything is possible." These are the words featured prominently on the website of Jennifer Goodman Linn, courageous leader, executive, athlete and fighter of cancer. While Linn did not ultimately win the battle with Sarcoma, her words and legacy live on to inspire all those who knew her --- and those who didn't.