This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, the preeminent legislation that paved the way for girls and women’s participation in sport. To commemorate the milestone and celebrate the annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) on February 2, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) is launching its first-ever NGWSD Virtual 5K & 50 Mile Challenge. The Challenge is one of several virtual events WSF is hosting on and around NGWSD – a national day of observance fueled by the Foundation to recognize the importance of equal opportunities in sport for girls and women. A broadcast event featuring WSF Athlete Ambassadors will kick-off the Challenge, and virtual congressional meetings will take place during the week.
Across the country, hundreds of NGWSD events – organized by community programs, schools and professional teams – take place each year to celebrate the achievements of girls and women in sports, and advocate for equal access and opportunity. Relatedly, every Title IX anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on how far society has come and how much farther there is to go to reach true equality.
“As the ally, advocate and catalyst for girls and women in sports, the Women’s Sports Foundation is driven and determined to continue leading girls and women forward – in both sport and in life,” said Deborah Antoine, WSF CEO. “We reach a major milestone this year: WSF has invested over $100 million since our founding to expand access and opportunities for girls and women in sports. We are optimistic about the future yet our fight for equality must continue. We are proud of our legacy of protecting Title IX while also illuminating the gaps where more work is needed to fulfill its promise. What better way to launch this milestone year, than with our annual celebration of National Girls & Women in Sports Day – and to launch our first NGWSD 5K & 50 Mile Challenge, with our presenting sponsor DICK’S Sporting Goods. I hope everyone will join in!”
WSF created the NGWSD Virtual 5K & 50 Mile Challenge to provide an interactive way for communities to celebrate across the country. Whatever sport or physical activity people choose to take on the Challenge – running, walking, rolling, rowing, swimming, cycling etc. – everyone can participate as an individual, or as part of a corporate or school challenge. The 5K runs through the month of February, while the 50 Mile Challenge extends up until June 23. Learn more and register here.
Kicking off the Challenge on February 2 will be a group of world-class WSF Athlete Ambassadors. You can watch some of them in action during the broadcast starting at 1pm ET/10am PT on the Foundation’s YouTube, Instagram and Facebook channels. WSF President and Olympic and World Champion in ice hockey Meghan Duggan, WSF Past President and freeskiing legend Grete Eliassen and WSF Ambassador and Track & Field Paralympian Scout Bassett, are among those featured in the 30-minute broadcast hosted by ESPN Women’s Basketball Analyst LaChina Robinson.
“We have a longstanding relationship with the Women’s Sports Foundation and are proud to serve as the presenting sponsor of the Virtual 5K & 50 Mile Challenge,” said Lauren Hobart, DICK’S Sporting Goods President and CEO. “All of us at DICK’s are very focused on doing our part to level the playing field and ensure that girls and women have equal opportunities in sports.”
Another important WSF hallmark of NGWSD is meeting with Capitol Hill policymakers about current legislation and issues that impact girls and women in sports. A Foundation contingent comprised of WSF leadership, Trustees and Athlete Ambassadors, will meet virtually with leaders in both the House and the Senate to discuss the importance of keeping Title IX strong and creating opportunities to provide more girls and women equal access and opportunity in sports.
To further mark Title IX’s milestone anniversary this year, WSF is conducting several activities and events including release of a national research report on the 50-year impact of Title IX, hosting a virtual town hall meeting series, and culminating with its Annual Salute to Women in Sports. More information will be available in the months ahead.