National Girls and Women in Sports Day, abbreviated as N.G.W.S.D., is observed on February 1 this year and it is all about breaking the gender stereotypes built around the sports industry. Have you ever felt sidelined from some kind of a sport due to the fact that you are a girl? N.G.W.S.D. is all about the narrative that women belong in every aspect of sports. Keep supporting, celebrating, and inspiring others by being fearless and playing like a girl, because what better way is there to play?
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History of National Girls and Women in Sports Day
National Girls and Women in Sports Day was first observed in 1987 to remember the Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman and acknowledge her as the best female volleyball player of her time and her work in promoting equal representation of women in sports. Hyman died of a genetic disorder, Marfan’s syndrome, while playing a tournament in Japan.
Since then, the day has evolved to commemorate all women athletes, their achievements, the positive impacts of inclusion of women in sports, and to address the challenges regarding equal participation of women in sports activities. The day also appreciates the progression made since the enactment of the civil rights law, Title IX.
Title IX was a public law passed in 1972 that completely changed the women’s narrative in sports. The legislation called for equal participation of everyone in all the programs and activities that were federally funded, which meant all public schools would ensure equitable sports opportunities to the students, regardless of their gender. Title IX was a breakthrough in women’s sports. Before this, only one in 27 girls had access to sports activities. But, today, that statistic has lowered to two in five girls, which is a commendable improvement.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day is celebrated in all 50 states. The day is usually celebrated by organizing community events, award ceremonies, and other sports activities that inspire girls and women to play sports and be active.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day timeline
Homer writes in his poem “Odyssey” of a female character, Nausicaa, playing ball with her maidservant on the riverbank of Scheria.
During the late 1800s, women started forming informal sports clubs — golf, tennis, archery, and horse riding were some popular sports in those clubs.
The first time female athletes are allowed to take part in the modern Olympic Games.
The International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) is established and their first World Conference on Women and Sport is held in the UK.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day FAQs
Who was the first female to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games?
Hélène de Pourtalès from Switzerland was the first woman to compete in the Olympic Games of 1900 and became the first female Olympic champion. She was a member of the winning team who won the sailing competition in the 1–2 ton category.
Who was the first woman to play in a pro-sports league?
On September 23, 1992, ice-hockey player Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in any of the four major North American pro-sports leagues when she played as a goalkeeper for the Tampa Bay Lightning team during an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues.
Who is the highest-paid female athlete?
In 2020 Forbes announced that the 22-year-old Japanese-American, Naomi Osaka had overtaken tennis legend Serena Williams as the highest-paid female athlete in the world.
How to Observe National Girls and Women in Sports Day
Take part in your favorite sport
National Girls and Women in Sports Day aims to motivate girls and women to play sports and be energetic, and to realize their full potential. So seize this day as an opportunity to play your favorite sport for a mental and physical boost.
Acknowledge the fight for equal participation of women in sports
Take this day to thank individuals and organizations who have been striving for equal representation of women in sports activities. You can head over to social media and make a thank-you post to show deserving people/organizations that have helped expand women’s participation in sport some love, and help more people learn about it.
Plan your own event
If you’re super excited about National Girls and Women in Sports Day (like we are!), you can even plan, organize, and host your own N.G.W.S.D. activities. The Women’s Sports Foundation has all the resources, event action kits, and communications kits with logos, posters, certificates, tips, and a checklist to host a kick-ass event.
5 Facts About National Girls And Women In Sports Day
Women couldn’t even watch the Olympic Games
During ancient times, women were not even allowed to be part of the audience at the Olympic Games.
Women couldn’t participate in the Olympic Games
The first modern Olympic Games was held in 1896 and women were not allowed to participate in it.
Plato was a feminist
Plato supported equal access for women in gymnastics in his books “Republic” and “Laws.”
Women were underestimated
Medical authorities dating as far back as Aristotle declared that women have a limited amount of energy and that much of it is depleted during the menstrual cycle, therefore women shouldn’t take part in sports.
Sport was seen as a fertility threat
In 19th century America, sports were considered to be a threat to female fertility.
Why National Girls and Women in Sports Day is Important?
It breaks the gender stereotypes
At least 75% of girls have heard derogatory remarks about girls in sports. National Girls and Women in Sports Day reiterates the narrative that women belong in all sports.
It inspires girls and women to be active
The celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day helps convey the importance of being physically active and encourages women to realize their full potential.
It honors the achievements of female athletes
While discussing the history of women's achievements, the role of sports in women’s social emancipation is usually ignored. National Girls and Women in Sports Day appreciates the achievements of female coaches and athletes and acknowledges the role of sports to help unlock the boundless potential of women.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day dates