National Girls and Women in Sports Day Date in the current year: February 7, 2024

National Girls and Women in Sports Day National Girls and Women in Sports Day is observed in the United States during the first week of February, typically falling on the first Wednesday of the month. It was created to celebrate female athletes and to emphasize the importance of gender equality in sports.

Although women have participated in sports throughout history, there is gender disparity in sports to this day. Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, spoke against women’s sports, describing them as “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect”. Thankfully, despite his views the IOC ruled that a woman’s medal held the same weight as a man’s in the medal table in 1914.

Even today women are discouraged from participating in sports that are traditionally viewed as masculine such as boxing or weightlifting. At the same time, participation of men in traditionally female dominated sports is often considered emasculating. As a result, gender stereotypes in sports are harmful to both female and male athletes because they feed into sexism, misogyny and toxic masculinity.

Gender discrimination in sports includes a lack of opportunities for female athletes, insufficient support of women’s sports leagues, the gender pay gap in professional sports, and outdated women’s dress code conventions that objectify women, among other things.

In 1972, the United States Congress passed Title IX, a federal civil rights law that prohibited sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. It is best known for its impact oh high school and collegiate athletics. Title IX helped to increase participation of girls and women in sports and enabled women’s sports to be taken just as seriously as their male counterparts.

Although female participation in sports increased significantly over the past decades, there’s still a long way to go because gender inequality and discrimination in sports still very much exist. This is exactly why we need National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

The inaugural National Women in Sports Day was celebrated on February 4, 1987. It was established by a presidential proclamation to honor the memory of Olympic volleyball player Flo Heyman and celebrate her work for equality in sports. The 31-year-old athlete died suddenly of aortic dissection caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome in 1986.

The day of observance was eventually renamed National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) to encourage participation of girls in sports. NGWSD events are organized by member organization of the National Girls & Women in Sports Day Coalition, including the Women’s Sports Foundation, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, National Women’s Law Center, and Girls, Inc.

NGWSD events include meetings with famous female athletes, charity runs, free workshops and demonstrations, film screenings, open discussions, sports games, and more. Their main goal is to encourage girls and women to take up sports and to highlight the accomplishments of female athletes and their contribution to the struggle for equality in sports.

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National Girls and Women in Sports Day, observances in the United States, women's sports, female athletes, gender inequality in sports