On June 7, 2019, at the end of FIFA’s first Women’s Convention, President Gianni Infantino announced the organization’s new commitment to dedicate $500 million to women’s soccer programs over the next four years. The announcement came on the heels of FIFA’s new partnership with UN Women, focused on promoting gender equity around the world.
Held on June 6 and 7 in the days before the kickoff of the Women’s World Cup, the FIFA Women’s Football Convention was the organization’s latest foray into empowerment for female soccer players. As the first event of its kind, the Convention gathered leaders from sports and politics in an unprecedented arena to discuss key issues surrounding women’s empowerment and development in professional football.
On May 29, 2019, GiveMeSport announced their decision to appoint Benny Bonsu as the new Head of Women’s Sport, building the foundation for the company’s new media outlet dedicated to covering women in sports.
GiveMeSport (GMS), a division of Bragg Gaming, is an online sports media outlet that provides real-time news and interviews for sports fans, focusing on exclusive content like interviews with players and managers. GiveMeSport Women will be GMS’s latest foray into female-focused media management, dedicated to complete coverage of women in sports.
The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) will be held in France starting June 8. The month-long tournament is held every four years, and is the global marquee event for women’s soccer.
The U.S. team is favored to win the WWC, but the French, German, and English squads are also considered serious contenders. All 24 participating teams had to earn their spot in the WWC by playing in preliminary regional tournaments.
Visa has recently announced that it is making a “substantial investment” in the U.S. Women’s National Team. While the company is sponsoring both the U.S. women’s and men’s squads, it has pledged that at least half of the funds will be earmarked for the women’s side. This is significant, as typically the support from corporate and other sponsors for female athletics is dwarfed by the sponsorship dollars accorded male athletes. Visa is making a powerful statement in its commitment to equality in this area.
The New York Times recently ran a feature on Reggae Girlz, the first national soccer team from the Caribbean to qualify for the Women’s World Cup, happening soon (June 7 to July 7) in France.
The article, entitled The Women’s World Cup’s Other Inequality: Rich vs. Poor, reports that the coach of the Reggae Girlz has worked for free for five years, and many of the female players lack funds for the costs of being a professional athlete. The coaches have to buy them things like jackets to wear for training and other basics of the sport.
Good news for women in sports: for the first time ever, the Augusta National golf tournaments included women, in the form of the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur event. Finally, one of the oldest and most revered golf courses in America allowed women to officially compete on its greens.
Teen girls are becoming movers and shakers across the globe in areas like gun violence, environmental activism, and gender equality, as well as advocacy for inclusiveness and systems change of all kinds.
And rather than simply accepting the hands they’ve been dealt, teen girls and young women are taking the lead to change their lives and the lives of those around them. A Swedish teen activist, Greta Thunberg, has recently made waves and garnered well-deserved media attention for her work around climate change. She has protested outside of the Swedish parliament and has spoken about the need to protect the environment for future generations at Davos and the United Nations. Thunberg has also inspired others her age, mobilizing school-based climate change protests in Sweden and worldwide. She was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and stands to be the youngest recipient since Malala Yousafzai if she wins.
Take it from Phaidra Knight, retired professional rugby player, who speaks in the above video about the value of funding initiatives like Sports 4 Life:”It really doesn’t matter your speed, your size, it’s just what you bring, your unique self, to the game,” said Knight. She went on to emphasize that with sports, young people have the opportunity become part of a team, which can lead to personal growth and improved self-confidence. “I think it’s so important, especially that girls from disadvantaged backgrounds have that opportunity. That is sometimes their ticket and access to greater things across the board.”
The Sports 4 Life Initiative is particularly aimed at increasing and retaining African-American and Hispanic girls in youth sports programs. Sports 4 Life was cofounded by the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW in 2014. This year, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation also joined the initiative, providing regional support to eight organizations in Southeast Michigan and Western New York.
The Women’s Sports Foundation was founded by Billie Jean King in 1974 with guiding mission of strengthening and expanding access for girls and women to all sports. As many of us know, sports participation can be an important window of opportunity for young girls, but there is such a huge gap in attention given to girls in sports versus men and boys. Every day, just for fun, I scroll through all the sports sections of the news online, just to see how many times I see a woman or a girl. It’s probably less than 10% of the time. How often do I see a woman or girl of color? Probably 5 to 10%. A sliver of a sliver.
Programs like Sports 4 Life are aimed at providing more parity for girls of color across a wide range of sports. “Even more than we believe in the power of sports, the Women’s Sports Foundation believes that all girls – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability, zip code or family income – deserve equitable access to the lifelong benefits of sports,” said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Since Sports 4 Life began in 2014, the Initiative has awarded 200 grants totaling more than $1.1 million, and reaching more than 50,000 girls nationally. This year, the Initiative’s community partners were particularly successful in increasing opportunities for girls of color, with more than 85% percent of girl participants being African-American or Hispanic.
We all have a unique journey in giving, and now that my journey has landed squarely on feminist philanthropy, I am excited to host a Twitter chat on National Philanthropy Day, to discuss my journey as a giver and to learn about your journey. I believe that by conversing, we can do more than we realize to help each other along the way.
The Twitter Chat will take place on National Philanthropy Day, Wednesday, November 15th, at 11 AM EST it, and will last for one hour. The chat is being hosted by Women Thrive Alliance, one of our spotlight organizations, and will focus on the following:
Topic: The Added Value of Funding Women’s Rights Organizations
Hashtags: #FundWomen #NationalPhilanthropyDay
Q1) Today is National Philanthropy Day. What advice do you have for individuals looking to give today?
Q2) How and why do you opt to fund women’s rights organizations?
Q3) What advice can you give to individuals who want to fund grassroots organizations?
Q4) Why is philanthropy so important when it comes to women’s rights and gender equality?
Q5) What are some resources that donors can use to educate themselves on investing in women’s rights?
Twitter chat guidelines:
At the beginning of the chat, Women Thrive will ask participants to tweet and say ‘hello.’ Women Thrive will go over how to answer the tweets – i.e. answer Q1 with A1; Q2 with A2 for all tweets corresponding to that question. Women Thrive will then begin by tweeting out the questions. Lastly, please include #FundWomen in all tweets.
Some areas I hope to cover include the growing use of giving circles as a vehicle for grassroots feminist philanthropy, ways to influence the communities around you to analyze their gender data, and ways to use your sweat equity as a writer, thinker, and amplifier to support feminist philanthropy. I will also be culling from our growing database of article on Philanthropy Women that are calling attention to the past, present, and future of how we #fundwomen.
The #GirlsAre campaign coordinated by The Clinton Foundation last year was so successful at galvanizing media and action for girl athletes, they are doing it again for a second year.
That’s a very good thing, because data shows that girls in the U.S. are far less likely than boys to engage in the recommended amount of physical activity. The Clinton Foundation and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, along with a long list of foundations and nonprofits, is continuing the #GirlsAre campaign to fight against this worrisome trend for girls.
“Data shows that across the United States, less than 50% of middle school girls get the recommended amount of physical activity each day,” says Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation and Board Member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “Why does this matter? This gap in physical activity results in fewer opportunities for girls to develop critical teamwork, confidence, and leadership skills that will help them thrive throughout their lives– as well as to be physically healthy.”
Using the hashtag #GirlsAre, the campaign invites the public to focus attention on the importance of girls’ athleticism, and encourages supporters to talk about the many ways that girls can be physically active and “show their strength.” Running through June 4th, the campaign also has three media partners: Fatherly, Refinery29, and Woman’s Day.
Check out the extensive list of campaign partners:
AdCap, Afterschool Alliance, After-School All-Stars, American Heart Association, Baseball for All, BOOST Collaborative, Boys and Girls Club for Greater Houston, Cage Cricket USA, Carl Sandburg College, Changing the Game Project, ChildObesity180, Coach Cam, Duval County Medical Society Foundation (NEFL), Fuel Up to Play 60, GENYOUth, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls on the Run International, INEOS ICAN Foundation, JJ’s I'm Me Foundation, LA84 Foundation, Lakeshore Foundation, National Afterschool Association, National Farm to School Network, National Fitness Foundation, National Girls Collaborative Project, National Recreation and Park Association, Play Like a Girl, Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, Salud America, Sportime featuring SPARK, Sports and Arts Foundation, Texas A&M School of Public Health, The First Tee, The KenKou Group, The OrganWise Guys, Tony Hawk Foundation, Up2Us Sports, Voices for Healthy Kids, the Wasserman Foundation, Women’s Sports Foundation, YMCA of Greater Houston and YWCA Chicago
The campaign also has a bevy of “influential voices” that includes Hilaria Baldwin, Joy Bauer, Wade Davis, Kaliya Johnson, Becca Myers, Megan Rapinoe, Rachael Ray, Allison Stokke and Abby Wambach.
Funding sports for girls is an important way to ensure more healthy life experiences for girls and women early on, an impact which magnifies over time as the lessons of teamwork learned in sports get applied to other aspects of life. The more communities can come together to support equal access to sports for girls, the better. By coordinating the many partners for this campaign, The Clinton Foundation is playing a familiar and important role as convener on a national issue in need of more attention.Read More