When I was growing up, I do not recall being exposed to many strong female role models from the sports world. They existed, but there wasn't enough story telling and publicity of women in sport, there still isn't. The athletes we recall from the 1990s were mostly from male dominated team sports, such as football, hockey and basketball. Michael Jordon and Pavel Bure are two names that come to mind.
For many, seeing possibiltiy and opportunity ignites the dream. It is important that we share stories and give young women, as well as young men high performance role models who have achieved greatness, so they can see that anything is possible.
"She inspires everyone. This past summer, the Little League World Series was going on, and Pierce Jones, a thirteen-year-old African-American boy from the South Side of Chicago, one of the stars of the series, comes up to bat, and underneath all of his stats, it listed his favourite athlete. It was Ronda Rousey. That is groundbreaking. He could have picked anyone - Lebron James, Derek Jeter, there are so many male athletes to choose from - by his favourite athlete is Rondo Rousey."
Female athletes are strong competitors and leaders. If opportunity is on the incline we must meet it with media exposure and story telling. The argument that men's sport is better or more entertaining is dead. We have given men a minimum of 75-100 years head start, but women are not behind.
I will be speaking at an event to celebrate Women's History Month on October 15th (see event details). My proposal to all women within and outside of sport is to initiate whereever possible and continue to advocate for increased opportunity. The below quote from HUFFPOST WOMEN, UK reinforces my sentiment well.
“But it isn’t just the women who have struck Olympic gold or won championship titles, who are paving the way for a new generation of healthy, active women and female sports stars. There are the courageous women who have overcome substantial obstacles, in order to inspire and motivate their compatriots; the women behind-the-scenes who have gained positions of power in a male dominated world to campaign tirelessly for gender equality in sport; as well, the women who are fighting to put female sport on the map, with improved media coverage of its events.” (see full article)