From the Hill to the streets, yesterday’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) was one that celebrated all the opportunities women and girls have had because of Title IX’s landmark legislation. 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 celebration spanning all 50 states.
WSF honored the day by lobbying on Capitol Hill with six champion athletes whose own personal success stories have been shaped by the chances afforded them by Title IX. Chair of the Board Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, first Foundation President Donna de Varona, Foundation Senior Director of Advocacy Nancy Hogshead-Makar, former Board member Lillian Greene-Chamberlain, Athlete Advisory Panel member Grete Eliassen and Foundation friend Sarah Hughes began their day asking members of Congress to support the High School Data Bill. The High School Data Bill requires 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.
To further highlight the importance of increasing opportunities for girls and women to participate in sports, WSF joined NGWSD Coalition members Girls Inc., Girl Scouts, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport and the National Women's Law Center for a panel discussion on the important role physical activity and access to sports plays in girls' and women's lives. After appropriately kicking off the briefing with audience participation in stretching and calisthenics, Cornell McClellan, the personal trainer to the First Family of United States and a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, spoke about his experience with the First Family as well as with his own daughters and grandchildren. Grete Eliassen shared her story, emphasizing that her mom was given an opportunity to play sports because of Title IX and that her Mom was key in getting Grete involved in sports. And before sending the delegation back into Congressional offices for the remainder of the afternoon, Neena Chaudhry from the NWLC explained the High School Data Bill to Congressional staffers and other attendees and discussed why such a level of transparency is important for high school athletics. 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.
Elsewhere, many of you shared with us your plans to celebrate NGWSD and why Title IX is important to your life. From coaching children to remembering those who paved the way, NGWSD was celebrated in many different ways. Twitter came alive with NGWSD tweets; we loved reading everything you shared. Some of the best:
@crynks: Happy National Girls and Women in Sports Day! Thx to my mom who gave me a ball and the confidence to kick it…HARD.
@Neverquit32: Sports make me feel alive; the sweat, the pain, the blood and the glory. Thank u to the pioneers before us! Happy #NGWSD
@mightymeesh Celebrating #NGWSD the best way I know how… At @SwimLPB watching little kids learn to love swimming!
@iJennAll Just finished swimming 1650 meter to celebrate #NGWSD for @WomensSportsFdn and my mom who let me compete with the boys!
@pcskichick I played D1 volleyball in late 70's! Proud to have been a part of this journey. We've come a long way baby! #womeninsports
Want to know more about the athletes who lobbied on our behalf? Learn more here.
Title IX might seem complex and intimidating , but we have the resources to make the legislation easily digestible. Learn more about Title IX and how it applies to you here.