ONE STEP FORWARD
Women in sports finally get some attention
Though women just keep killing it in sports – Team USA snagged their third successive women's 4x400 relay world title on Sunday – there’s still a long way to go for female-identifying athletes to achieve equality in sports. Just last week, ESPN found itself in hot water after several female athletes nominated for ESPYS weren't invited to the award ceremony. Fortunately, we have seen some pretty notable strides forward. Ahead, three initiatives that are empowering women athletes.
TOUR DE FRANCE FEMMES
The Tour de France kicked off this month, and for the first time since 1989, women finally have the opportunity to participate. The historic race has been around for 119 years, and women have only participated in a handful of them, once in 1955, then again from 1984 to 1989. After a 33-year hiatus, the world’s most-watched sporting event will once again have a women’s race, thanks in large part to the cycling app Zwift, which signed on as the marquee sponsor of the Tour de France Femmes. It’s a win for women, though inequality remains: the total earnings for winning female cyclists is about $250,000, while the men’s earnings are close to $2 million.
According to a report, 59% of teenage girls who used to be interested in football (a.k.a. English soccer) dropped out due to inadequate opportunities and access to pitch space (a.k.a. soccer fields). With that in mind, Adidas’s new campaign, “Pitch, Please,” seeks to provide access to female-identifying and non-binary football players through a handy WhatsApp booking service. The athletic brand will offer free space throughout London for the duration of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament. This is just one of many recent global initiatives from Adidas that seek to empower women in sports. Earlier this year, they partnered with Havas Middle East and Sudanese-British basketball player and activist Asma Elbadawi to launch a glow-in-the-dark basketball court in Dubai. The court, which sits atop a 52-floor tower, features an illustration of Elbadawi, who leveled the playing field for female athletes when she successfully overturned the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) ban on religious headgear in professional basketball.
Timed with the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Champs Sports is teaming up with female athlete advocacy platform Voiceinsport to champion women in sports. The “Women Win” campaign, which went live last week, involves in-store events featuring big-name female athletes happening all around the country. The series kicked off at Champs’ experiential, high-tech “Homefield” store in Pembroke Pines, Florida with University of Miami basketball players and TikTok stars Hanna and Haley Cavinder, who signed NIL deals with the retailer last year. They’ve also launched a VoiceInSport x Champs Sports capsule collection called "moreVIS," with proceeds going toward memberships for women athletes to unlock access to VoiceInSport's mental health and wellness services.