National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a celebration of the power of sport that takes place every year in the first week of February. On this day we honor how far we have come and where we are headed in the ongoing effort to provide equal opportunities for females in sport.
Women and girls fought a long, hard battle to get where we are today in the world of athletics. There was once a time where females were restricted from sport. Some people in positions of authority created social barriers, claiming sport damaged femininity. They spread false ideas that such intense activity would be damaging to female health. With no options for play at school or at home, girls were missing out on massive opportunities that their male counterparts were getting to experience and grow from on a daily basis. With the help of professional female athlete trail blazers, women and girls recognized the missed opportunities and fought hard for change. They demanded equal treatment in areas ranging from access to participation in sporting events to equal pay in the professional sports world. The work wasn’t easy and it took high levels of sacrifice, but without it, women and girls would not have the sporting opportunities we do today.
Now that you have a little background on what we celebrate in early February, I want to tell a story about an experience I had that opened my eyes to the importance of sport for young girls and women alike. Last week, I was given the opportunity to participate in the day in a unique way. I mentored young girls and boys at Clemson’s Girls and Women in Sports Day event on campus. Female Clemson athletes interacted with children from the community through our shared love of sports. My teammates and I organized relay races between the kids, with an emphasis on sportsmanship. During the first race of the day, a young girl wearing a Clemson bow led her team to a first place finish by just a few steps. Her team cheered in celebration, and as the group moved on to their next station, I watched as she looked down and flexed her bicep, acknowledging how strong she felt. To me, that moment truly summed up what the celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day is all about. Sport influences girls to build confidence, discover their strengths, and develop into powerful women. It is important we recognize and celebrate the power sport has and how far we have come as females in the sports world. Girls and Women In Sports Day has taught me that sport is bigger than just the games we play and it is an inspirational tool for our youth.
So how can you support girls and women in sport? Go to a women’s sporting event! Clemson has eleven women’s sports teams, with the newest additions of gymnastics and lacrosse. Come to a game or meet, cheer on the Lady Tigers, and help us celebrate the accomplishments of women in sport!
– Grace Hanratty, Communication Intern
Check out the Lady Tigers Here: https://clemsontigers.com
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