Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

February 2021

NGWSD Celebrates Girls & Women in Sports

Feb. 3, 2021 was the 35th annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), a day of observance recognizing the importance of equal opportunities in sport for girls and women. In honor of the day, the Women's Sports Foundation hosted virtual events to engage girls across the country, as well as legislators on Capitol Hill.

This annual day of celebration and advocacy aims to inspire girls and women to play and be active, to help realize their limitless potential. Now more than ever, with the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice movement and political tumult, staying mentally and physically healthy and resilient is vital.

National Girls & Women in Sports Day began in 1987 as a special day in the U.S. capital to recognize women's sports. The day united organizations and elite athletes to bring national attention to the promise of girls and women in sports. The day has since evolved into an event to acknowledge the accomplishments of female athletes, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.

Hosted by World Rugby Hall of Famer and WSF President Phaidra Knight, young athlete and journalist Pepper Persley, and award-winning basketball analyst LaChina Robinson, the online NGWSD Girls Fest was designed to engage elementary to high school level girls and honor all that they are, and all they can be. The day included behind-the-scenes dialogue with Olympic and Paralympic champions training for the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Games, an interactive conversation on sports advocacy and leadership, and a kickoff to the #LeadHerForward Fitness Challenge, inviting girls to stay active and join their team.

"I know from my own experience that sport provides tremendous lifelong benefits—health, mastery, comradery, confidence, leadership—and having equal access and opportunity to participate is important," Knight said. "We are proud of the heritage of National Girls & Women in Sports Day, which celebrates and advocates for all girls and women athletes, at every level."

In addition to celebrating girls, another WSF hallmark of NGWSD is meeting with Capitol Hill policy-makers about current legislation and issues that impact sport, and the importance of equity and equality in their decisions. Given the pandemic, the WSF contingent—comprised of foundation leadership, trustees and WSF Athlete Ambassadors—met with leaders in both the House and the Senate, virtually, focusing particular attention on the importance of keeping Title IX strong, opportunities to provide more girls and women access to sports, and proposed legislation addressing NCAA Athletes' Name, Image and Likeness.

The Women's Sports Foundation has a rich history of advocating for policy and practices that shape equal opportunity and access for girls and women in sport. From serving as a valiant protector of Title IX, to launching its industry-galvanizing The Equity Project, to recognizing the brave who speak against social injustice. WSF is the ally, advocate and catalyst for tomorrow's leaders. NGWSD provides an important platform to further WSF's advocacy and public policy work.

"Though we are in complex, challenging times, the Women's Sports Foundation never falters in our determination to be a beacon of empowerment and inspiration for girls and women," said Deborah Antoine, WSF CEO. "The fight for equality is the very cornerstone of our Foundation, and meeting with government leaders about legislation that can have a lasting impact on girls and women in sport, is critical to our mission."

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