Dance Equity: Extra Tough Times for Women Dancers in COVID

Northfield, IL | November 19, 2020 Dance Data Project® (DDP) today announces the social media campaign, Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory, designed to draw attention to the catastrophic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in dance and the performing arts in general. The campaign will begin on Monday, Nov. 23 and run for three weeks, ending on Friday, Dec. 11.

Dancers Terez Dean Orr and Ben Warner perform Poetry of Being by Nicole Haskins. (Photo by Keith Sutter, courtesy of Smuin Contemporary Ballet)


“While NPR, and business publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes have documented the asymmetric impact of the pandemic on women economically, we haven’t seen similar work by arts reporters, looking at the industry as a whole,” said DDP President and Founder Liza Yntema. “Our campaign is designed to ‘connect the dots’ between layoffs and furloughs at the lower tier of performing arts not for profits where women typically work, the already existing gender pay gap, and the crushing pressure women feel due to child and elder care duties resulting in what is being termed the ‘Shecession’.” 

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Sports 4 Life Delivers Big Benefits for Girls of Color

Sports 4 Life is a national initiative co-founded by the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) and espnW. It was established in 2014 and seeks to increase participation of girls of color in youth sports. It has so far impacted over 60,000 girls of color, and its recently released report shows gains in girls’ leadership, self-esteem, confidence and perseverance resulting from their participation in the program.

(Photo Credit: Sports 4 Life)


2020 has been defined by the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for racial justice. Improving the physical and mental health—and leadership capacities—of girls of color is one way to help them navigate COVID and beyond. The WSF and espnW (“a voice for the woman who loves sports”), Sports 4 Life partnership is funding local sports programs, filling in the gaps to access and opportunity that often confront girls of color.

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Phaidra Knight Elected President of Women’s Sports Foundation

New York, N.Y. (September 30, 2020): The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) announced today its president-elect and two new members joining the Board of Trustees. World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight was voted in as president-elect, and is joined by newly-elected Board members Brett Goodman and LaChina Robinson. Knight has been serving as a WSF Trustee since 2018, and now Goodman and Robinson join the elite group of cross-sector experts that help guide the Women’s Sports Foundation’s operations as well as its mission, to unlock the possibilities in every girl and woman through the power of sport.

Phaidra Knight was voted in as president-elect of the Women’s Sports Foundation, and is joined by newly-elected board members Brett Goodman and LaChina Robinson. (Image credit: WSF)

“We are thrilled for Phaidra and excited to welcome Brett and LaChina – amazing professionals who are fellow game-changers in our fight for gender equity in sports,” said WSF CEO, Deborah Antoine. “Each brings a wonderfully diverse range of knowledge and experiences to WSF, and we look forward to working together, and advancing our mission, to unlock the potential of girls and women in sport and in life.”

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Black Leaders Call for $1 Billion Decade-Long Investment in Black Girls

On September 15, the 57th anniversary of the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama church bombing that killed four Black girls, a group of prominent Black women launched the Black Girl Freedom Fund. The group’s open letter and social media campaign mark the beginning of a one-billion-dollar effort championing Black girls and their families.

Image Credit: Black Girl Freedom Fund

The open letter from the Black Girl Freedom Fund notes that while Black Lives Matter attracts strong philanthropic support, “Black girls and young women still remain adultified, victimized by violence, and erased from the very same social justice movement for which they continue to risk their lives.”

The letter demands that Black girls receive the attention and support they deserve:

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Sports 4 Life Grants Aim to Increase Sports for Girls of Color

Sports 4 Life, a national initiative co-founded by the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) and espnW (“a voice for the woman who loves sports”), was established in 2014 to increase participation of girls of color in youth sports. Recently, Sports 4 Life announced their 2020 grants which will help African American and Latino girls overcome barriers to sports participation.

Twenty-five organizations based in 13 states and Washington, D.C. received the awards which totaled $175,000. The grants aim to augment and diversify sports opportunities for more than 7,700 middle and high school girls, and included funding for programs representing 23 different sports.

(Photo Credit: Sports 4 Life)

The impetus for Sports 4 Life is the recognition that the benefits of participation in sports—which include improved physical and mental health, as well as better grades and improved leadership skills—often disproportionately exclude African American and Latino girls. Historic racial injustices lie at the root of disparities in access to sports participation, and these gaps have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Platforms for Good: Summer Sanders and Plan International USA

On February 20, 2020, global development organization Plan International USA announced its newest Ambassador, Summer Sanders Schlopy.

An Olympic athlete and most decorated U.S. swimmer in the 1992 Olympics, Summer is known for using her platform for good. She rose to precedence as a member of Stanford’s swimming team, taking on the 1992 National Championship and Olympic Games. In Barcelona, Summer became the most decorated U.S. swimmer with one bronze, one silver, and two gold medals.

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Summer Sanders Schlopy joins Plan International USA as their newest celebrity ambassador. (Photo Credit: Outside Online)

In the early 1990s, Summer turned to television, commentating the NCAA Swimming Championships for CBS Sports, and hosting MTV’s surf-and-sun competition show Sandblast. Her numerous television accolades include correspondent, co-host, and host for a range of sporting events, TV series, and competition shows.

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$1K Scholarships for 10 Young Women to Learn Esports Trade

(Feb. 11, 2020) Today the 1,000 Dreams Fund (1DF), a national nonprofit that provides micro-grants that support the dreams of talented young women, announces the expansion of the BroadcastHER Academy (powered by Allied Esports & HyperX) into the first-ever esports and gaming fellowship program for high potential women interested in pursuing careers in the industry – whether in-front or behind the camera. Partners include premier esports entertainment company Allied Esports and HyperX Gaming.

The 1,000 Dreams Fund is providing ten $1,000 scholarships for young women to learn about esports.

“In order for the esports and gaming industry to continue to thrive, a diverse and talented workforce is needed – and women must have a seat at the table,” says 1,000 Dreams Fund Founder and CEO Christie Garton. “We believe that the Academy, with further investment and support by our partners, can become a talent pool for our partners and the industry, while providing a clearer pathway for women who want to thrive in the industry.”

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United for Girls: DICK’S Fdn Invests $5 Million in Girls Soccer

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert; actor, director, and producer Katie Holmes; sports journalist Christine Brennan; and best-selling author and journalist Elaine Welteroth, among others, joined DICK’S Sporting Goods today to discuss the challenges and opportunities girls experience accessing sports and the impact sports and fitness have had on their lives

DICK’S announced its 2020 Women’s Initiative highlighted by The DICK’S Foundation’s $5 million grant to U.S. Soccer Foundation’s ‘United for Girls’ Initiative

dick's
At its 2020 Women’s Initiative at the ‘Here for Her’ Summit, DICK’S Foundation announced a three-year $5 million grant to the U.S. Sports Foundation to support girls in soccer. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for DICK’S Sporting Goods)

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation hosted a Here for Her Summit in New York City, a focused and collective effort to champion women and girls in sports and fitness.

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With Research and Equity Project, WSF Raises Stakes

WSF releases new national research report – Chasing Equity: The Triumphs, Challenges and Opportunities in Sports for Girls and Women – a comprehensive, current landscape analysis;

And launches The Equity Project, a new national campaign to galvanize leaders across sectors to help drive paradigm-shifting change that transcends sports

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — With the start of a new decade, 2020, and the golden anniversary of Title IX on the near horizon, 2022, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) is staking a bold stand to gain true, lasting equity for girls and women in sports and beyond. Today the Foundation released its new national research report – Chasing Equity: The Triumphs, Challenges and Opportunities in Sports for Girls and Women – a comprehensive analysis of the current landscape and all its challenges, barriers, progress and opportunities, accompanied by a robust aggregate of calls to action to drive change.

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Serena Williams Invests $3 Million in Reducing Maternal Mortality Rates

Serena Williams, world class athlete and founder of Serena Ventures, is helping to address critical health issues for pregnant women in America. (Photo credit: Serena Ventures)

After her daughter’s birth in 2017, tennis legend Serena Williams spoke out about her many postpartum complications. Williams experienced a traumatizing pulmonary embolism that forced her to undergo several surgeries after her initial C-section. The complications kept her in a hospital bed for a week after childbirth–and ruminating on the implications of her health issues for a lot longer than that. 

Although harrowing, Williams’ story is far from unusual. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. In particular, the immediate postpartum period is considered especially high-risk, due in part to the widespread inaccessibility of adequate postpartum care for both psychological and physiological complications. 

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