Sports’ Role in “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”

Thursday, March 8 is International Women’s Day.

“Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.  Organizations, governments, charities and women’s groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues.”

This year, the theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.” We fortunately have been witness millions of times all over the world to girls being connected through sports. In the U.S., girls have taken their rightful place on the basketball court, soccer field, and hockey rink, amongst other places. They have amazed millions, whether in front of one or two people at a time or a stadium full of screaming fans.

Despite the great progress that has been made at the grassroots through college levels, we have not seen a comparable success rate at the professional ranks, whether on or off the field.

On the field, the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league in the United States has canceled the 2012 season with the hopes of relaunching in better shape in 2013. Now, immediate success is surely not the norm for any start-up company, which the league was. However, after the first failed effort at a women’s professional soccer league, many were pinning their hopes on WPS version 2.0. Unfortunately, the league again failed to drive the type of revenue to support its rather modest cost structure. Does this mean that women’s pro sports can never make it? Absolutely not. However, it does call for a new and better business model. It does call for women to take ownership of their league, become owners, front office executives, and staff persons in the sports area.

Off the field, while some progress has been made, we still are looking for more women in the executive ranks of teams, leagues, events, and companies. By being part of the strategic planning and decision-making at the highest levels of sport, we will inevitably have better results when  it comes to attracting and retaining women and girls as customers.

So as we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, let’s reflect how we can support, encourage, and champion those women and and opportunities in which they will be “connecting girls, inspiring futures.” Because if we do, we surely will live in a better world.

“Each year 1,000+ International Women’s Day events are uploaded by corporations, women’s groups, schools, governments, charities and individuals from around the world. No matter where you are there is bound to be a range of exciting International Women’s Day events near you.” To upload and/or find events, please click here.