Team USA inspired a global audience when they won the 2019 Women’s World Cup. They also exposed a glaring injustice when it came to light that they were compensated at less than half the rate of their male counterparts (who, BTW, have never won a World Cup and haven’t even come close since 1930). Here’s a blood-boiling stat supplied by ESPN: FIFA (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association) awarded $30 million in prize money to those winning women. The previous year, the men’s tournament doled out $400 million in prize money.
Look, we can’t all be Megan Rapinoe. But we can do our part to dismantle gender disparity in the world of sports—starting by encouraging our own daughters to play.
Did you know that girls participate in sports at lower rates than boys at all ages? And that girls get involved in sports later than boys and drop out earlier—a sad trend that crests around adolescence? On the flip side, according to research by the Women’s Sports Foundation (an advocacy group founded by Billie Jean King in 1974), “Youth sports participation is linked to substantial physical, social-emotional and achievement-related benefits. For girls in particular, research consistently demonstrates sports participation is linked to their improved physical and mental health; academic achievement; and increased levels of body esteem, confidence and mastery, with some indication that girls reap greater benefits from sports participation than do boys.”
Star athletes aren’t just born. They are raised. Here, seven stat-supported reasons to cheer on your own.