26th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day Unites Champion Women Athletes on Capitol Hill to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Title IX

Donna de Varona, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Lillian Greene-Chamberlain, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Grete Eliassen and Sarah Hughes to honor athletic achievements and continued female participation in sports

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2012 -- In celebration of the 26th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), organizations and leaders from the National Girls and Women in Sports Day Coalition, including six-time Winter X Games medalist Grete Eliassen (skiing) and Olympic and champion athletes Sarah Hughes (figure skating), Donna de Varona (swimming), Benita Fitzgerald Mosley (track & field), Lillian Greene-Chamberlain (track & field), and Nancy Hogshead-Makar (swimming), will convene at the nation's capital in support of the continued enforcement of Title IX and other legislation designed to close the gender equity gap in sports. The theme for this year’s NGWSD, “Title IX at 40: In it for the Long Run,” celebrates the upcoming 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation which ensures equal access for both men and women in federally-funded educational programs and activities, including sports.

A briefing on Capitol Hill today will recognize girls' and women's participation and excellence in sports and highlight the need for continued expansion of opportunities for girls and women to play sports and lead physically active lives. Despite the stunning advances made since Title IX was enacted in 1972, high school girls still receive 1.3 million fewer participation opportunities than boys, and research suggests that the money spent on girls' sports programs lags significantly behind the money spent on boys' programs. Groups comprised of representatives from Coalition organizations and champion female athletes will visit approximately 25 Congressional offices in support of the continued enforcement of Title IX and to press for the re-introduction and passage of the High School Athletics Accountability Act, H.R. 458, and the High School Data Transparency Act, S. 1269 (112th Congress), which will require the disclosure and examination of high school athletic participation statistics and further advance opportunities for girls' participation in sports under Title IX.

“National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a unique culmination of influential women and men working together as one team to thoughtfully discuss and address the inequalities that still exist in sports,” said Women’s Sports Foundation Founder Billie Jean King. “While we have come a long way since the enactment of Title IX 40 years ago, it is important to recognize that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure there are sports, health and physical education opportunities in schools and in communities across the nation.”

At the briefing, Grete Eliassen, Women’s Sports Foundation; Neena Chaudhry, Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center; Cornell McClellan, President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and Fitness Consultant and Personal Trainer to the First Family of United States of America; Betsey Stevenson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, Princeton; an 8th grade athlete from Girls Inc., and representatives from Girl Scouts of the USA, and the National Association of Girls and Women in Sports will underscore the importance of sports opportunities for girls and women.

“To represent the Women’s Sports Foundation, the Coalition and all female athletes today in Washington is truly a humbling experience that is unlike anything I have ever done in my career,” shared Eliassen. “Sports have had such a profound impact on my life, and it is important to share our experiences with the legislators who are making decisions which impact the health and well-being of current and future generations of girls and women. It is our duty to ensure that legislation is in place that will continue to allow girls and women to flourish in sport.”

To celebrate this special day, events will take place across the country to raise the visibility of the achievements of girls and women in athletics. Thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students and parents will come together to show their support of the 2012 NGWSD theme, “Title IX at 40: In it for the Long Run.”

About National Girls and Women in Sports Day
NGWSD began in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player, Flo Hyman, for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women’s sports. Hyman died of Marfan’s Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, NGWSD has evolved into a day devoted to acknowledging the past accomplishments of female athletes and recognizing current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports.

Since its inception, NGWSD has been celebrated annually in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements of female athletes and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports. NGWSD is organized by the members of the National Girls and Women in Sports Day Coalition. Women's Sports Foundation Founder Billie Jean King and Past Women’s Sports Foundation Presidents Donna de Varona, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Jessica Mendoza, Aimee Mullins and Dominique Dawes are among the champion women athletes that have contributed to the annual NGWSD activities alongside the Coalition organizations. For more information, please visit: www.NGWSDCentral.com .

About the National Girls and Women in Sports Day Coalition
The National Girls and Women in Sports Day Coalition is comprised of five partner organizations including Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, National Association of Girls and Women in Sport, National Women’s Law Center, and the Women's Sports Foundation. The Coalition combines the experience and resources of the five premiere girls- and women-serving organizations in the United States.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kasandra Carr
Zeno Group
Phone: 202-965-7809
Kasandra.Carr@ZenoGroup.com

Published Feb 1, 2012
By Women's Sports Foundation

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