In honor of the 35th annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) – a national day of observance recognizing the importance of equal opportunities in sport for girls and women – the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) will host virtual events to engage girls across the country and legislators on Capitol Hill. Powered by WSF, this annual day of celebration and advocacy inspires 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. These WSF events are designed to empower, encourage and inspire all girls, women and leaders to realize and focus their power to #LeadHerForward.
On February 3, communities across the country will join the annual celebration, albeit virtually this year, as WSF hosts its first-ever, online NGWSD Girls Fest from 4:00-5:30pm EST. 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, this free event is designed to engage elementary to high school level girls and honor all that they are, and all that they can be. Girls Fest will include: behind the scenes dialogue with Olympic and Paralympic champions currently training for the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Games; an interactive conversation by girls for girls, discussing sports advocacy and their ability to lead; and a kickoff to the #LeadHerForward Fitness Challenge featuring WSF Athlete Ambassadors inviting girls to stay active and join their team. More information can be found here.
“I know from my own experience that sport provides tremendous life-long benefits – health, mastery, comradery, confidence, leadership – and having equal access and opportunity to participate is important,” said Knight. “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. I’m also excited to co-host our Girls Fest, to inspire and rally this next generation to realize they have the power to help lead us all forward.”
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’s leadership, Trustees and WSF Athlete Ambassadors – will be meeting with leaders in both the House and the Senate, virtually. These meetings will focus 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 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 boldly speak with sport 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.”