Elite Athletes

Women in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Here we provide an evidence-based look at what is known about women’s leadership and participation in the Toyko 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games (held in Summer 2021), along with an examination of media coverage. This is the seventh report in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement.

Women in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership and Media Coverage

Women in the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Here we provide an evidence-based look at what is known about women’s leadership and participation in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. This is the sixth report in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement.

2018 Olympic and Paralympic Report Executive Summary

2018 Olympic and Paralympic Report Fact Sheet

Women in the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership and Media Coverage

Women in the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

This study is the fifth report in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement and explores participation, leadership and media coverage.

The report analyzes the representation and participation of women in the international and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic organizations. Specifically, it examines the types and extent of opportunities that are provided for women in administrative and leadership roles within these structures as well as the chances women have to compete in the Games themselves. This report also assesses the extent that the IOC, IPC and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) are fulfilling their stated missions with respect to fairness to fairness and gender equity and whether or not legal statutes are being upheld.

Women in the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership and Media Coverage

Her Life Depends On It III & Concussions

To assist readers who have specific interests, the WSF has created a series of Research Briefs from Her Life Depends On It III.

Her Life Depends On It III is the Women’s Sports Foundation’s comprehensive report that reviews existing and emerging research on the links between participation in sport and physical activity and the health and wellbeing of American girls and women. As with the previous editions in 2004 and 2009, this study also confirms that physical activity and sport provides the critical foundation, in no small part, that allows girls and women to lead healthy, strong, and fulfilled lives. Ten years since its first publication, the updated Her Life Depends On It provides an even more comprehensive review of the ever-expanding body of research that demonstrates how important it is for girls and women to participate in sport and physical activity. The report’s contents reflect the review of 1,500 studies, nearly 400 covered since the previous edition.

Her Life Depend On It III and Concussions

Her Life Depends On It III & Female Athletes and Knee Injuries

To assist readers who have specific interests, the WSF has created a series of Research Briefs from Her Life Depends On It III.

Her Life Depends On It III is the Women’s Sports Foundation’s comprehensive report that reviews existing and emerging research on the links between participation in sport and physical activity and the health and wellbeing of American girls and women. As with the previous editions in 2004 and 2009, this study also confirms that physical activity and sport provides the critical foundation, in no small part, that allows girls and women to lead healthy, strong, and fulfilled lives. Ten years since its first publication, the updated Her Life Depends On It provides an even more comprehensive review of the ever-expanding body of research that demonstrates how important it is for girls and women to participate in sport and physical activity. The report’s contents reflect the review of 1,500 studies, nearly 400 covered since the previous edition.

Her Life Depends On It III and Female Athletes and Knee Injuries

Her Life Depends On It III & the Female Athlete Triad

To assist readers who have specific interests, the WSF has created a series of Research Briefs from Her Life Depends On It III.

Her Life Depends On It III is the Women’s Sports Foundation’s comprehensive report that reviews existing and emerging research on the links between participation in sport and physical activity and the health and wellbeing of American girls and women. As with the previous editions in 2004 and 2009, this study also confirms that physical activity and sport provides the critical foundation, in no small part, that allows girls and women to lead healthy, strong, and fulfilled lives. Ten years since its first publication, the updated Her Life Depends On It provides an even more comprehensive review of the ever-expanding body of research that demonstrates how important it is for girls and women to participate in sport and physical activity. The report’s contents reflect the review of 1,500 studies, nearly 400 covered since the previous edition.

Her Life Depends On It III and the Female Athlete Triad

Pay Inequity in Athletics


Gender Inequity in Collegiate Sports

  • Even though female students comprise 57% of college student populations, female athletes received only 43% of participation opportunities at NCAA schools which is 63,241 fewer participation opportunities than their male counterparts. (NCAA, 2014)
  • Although the gap has narrowed, male athletes still receive 55% of NCAA college athletic scholarship dollars (Divisions I and II), leaving only 45% allocated to women. (NCAA, 2014)
  • When examining median expenses per NCAA Division I institutions, women’s teams receive only 40% of college sport operating dollars and 36% of college athletic team recruitment spending. (NCAA, 2012)
  • Median head coaches’ salaries at NCAA Division I-FBS schools are $3,430,000 for men’s teams and $1,172,400 for women’s teams. This is a difference of $2,257,600. (NCAA, 2012)

Gender Equity in Professional Sports

  • At the end of each World Major Marathon (MMM) series the leading man and woman each win $500,000, making a total prize of one million U.S. dollars. The WMM includes the New York Marathon, the Boston Marathon, the London Marathon, the Tokyo Marathon, the Berlin Marathon, and the Chicago Marathon.
  • In 2007 Wimbledon announced for the first time, it will provide equal prize purses to male and female athletes. All four Grand Slam events now offer equal prize money to the champions.
  • When the Association of Surfing Professionals was acquired in 2012, now known as the World Surf League, the new ownership made it a policy that the men’s and women’s Championship Tour events have equal prize money. 

Gender Inequity in Professional Sports

  • Total prize money for the 2014 PGA tour, over $340 million, is more than five times that of the new-high for the 2015 LPGA tour, $61.6 million. Similar discrepancies exist throughout professional sports.
  • For a WNBA player in the 2015 season, the minimum salary was $38,913, the maximum salary was $109,500, and the team salary cap in 2012 was $878,000. For NBA players in the 2015-2016 season, the minimum salary is $525,093, the maximum salary is $16.407 million, and the team salary cap is an all-time high of $70 million.
  • For  winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team won $2 million. Germany’s men’s team took home $35 million for winning the 2014 World Cup. The U.S. men’s team finished in 11th place and collected $9 million, and each men’s team that was eliminated in the first round of the 2014 World Cup got $8 million each, which is four times as much as the 2015 women’s championship team.

What you can do

  • Attend women’s sporting events
  • Support companies that advocate for women’s athletics
  • Encourage television stations and newspapers to cover women’s sports
  • Sign up to coach a girls’ sports team, whether at the recreational or high school level
  • Encourage young women to participate in sports
  • Become an advocate: if you are or know a female athlete that is being discriminated against – advocate for her rights.

Photo Credit: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Concussion Articles, Positions and Resources

Athlete Advisory Panel member Lyn-z Adams Hawkins Pastrana sports her WSF pride on her skateboard helmet as she competes in the 2010 Dew Tour in Boston. (Photo by: Michael Leonhard)

Concussion Articles, Positions and Resources

 Concussion Articles

Football not only sport concussion risk for teens

Girls’ Soccer Second to Football for High School Sports Concussion

Concussion Rates Rising in Younger Athletes

AAN: Put Concussion Experts on the Front Line of Sports

Female Athletes’ Concussion Symptoms May Be Overlooked

Concussion Symptoms May Differ in Girls and Boys

Concussion Position Statements


American Academy of Neurology Position Statement on Sports Concussion

National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement on Management of Sport-Related Concussion

Concussion Resources


NFHS Free Course: Concussion in Sports – What You Need To Know

Suggested Guidelines for Concussion Management in Sport – a publication from the NFHS

Questions vital to diagnosing concussions – Q& A and a video from an ESPN special on concussions

Fact Sheets for Parents, Coaches and Athletes – OHSSA

Recognizing Sports Concussions – Video from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association

Resources to Prevent and Recognize Concussions – Centers for Disease Control

CDC “Heads Up” Youth Sports Campaign – a wealth of information on sports-related concussions for athletes, parents, coaches, athletic administrators, and athletic trainers

SportsConcussions.org – Information for parents, coaches, and schools on sports-related concussions

UB Specialized Exercise Regimen Shown to Relieve Prolonged Concussion Symptoms – University of Buffalo

Sports Legacy Institute – The mission of the Sports Legacy Institute is to advance the study, treatment and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups

*This list is for reference only. The Women’s Sports Foundation does not endorse any specific companies, products, or training programs.

 

Women’s Sports Facts

This compilation of facts is a representative sample of the data that exists in women’s sports as of the publication date. Topics include the benefits of sports participation, leadership and employment, race and ethnicity, sport and disability, participation across the ages, media coverage, and the business of sports.

Women's Sports Facts (PDF 662k)

Women in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

The Women’s Sports Foundation is pleased to release Women in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership, and Media Opportunities. This is the third in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement. The report provides the most accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date examination of the participation trends among female Olympic and Paralympic athletes and the hiring trends of Olympic and Paralympic governing bodies with respect to the number of women who hold leadership positions in these organizations. The report also looks at newspaper and internet coverage of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The study was conducted by Dr. Maureen Smith from California State University, Sacramento and Dr. Alison M. Wrynn from California State University, Long Beach.

A distinguished panel of women’s sports experts reviewed the report and policy recommendations were issued. These recommendations can be found at the conclusion of the report.

Women in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership and Media Opportunities (PDF 922k)