I came across a great contest this week… an online social movement for women in sports.
The campaign is called “Game Changers” and asks participants to identify the most innovative solutions to the challenges facing women in sport today.
Between November 12, 2008 and February 11, 2009, Game Changers is inviting anyone and everyone to propose a way to leverage sport for positive social change in the lives of girls and women. The criteria is based upon innovation, social impact and sustainability.
The prize: “15.000 Euros will be awarded as part of a one year fellowship contract with Women Win to a person associated with a programme or initiative that positively changes the lives of women and girls in their community through sport.”
The judging panel includes Amy Wambach from (U.S. Women’s Soccer), Jil Ker Conway (director of Colgate-Palmolive Co., and Nike, Inc), Sheila C. Johnson (only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams), Lombe Mwambwa (National Organisation of Women in Sport, the National Sports Council of Zambia) and Tanni Grey-Thompson ( Paralympics medalist). Love the selection!
I have to give serious props to Nike and Ashoka for sponsoring this. I think it’s a great idea. If you’re not familiar with Ashoka, they’re the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs-men and women with system changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems.
However, I have to say – I’m a bit disappointed that there are only 220 nominations and 55 entries to date. Where is everyone? This is an international competition!
Also, where’s the outreach to female sports bloggers? I haven’t seen anything in the media about this. If we’re trying to make social change, people need to know about it, right? There are plenty of bloggers in our community who would support this.
Regardless, as I said, this is a great competition and addresses a problem that is not often discussed in society. Also, it’s important to note that Nike has made incredible contributions on social change as it relates to sport. For example, the Let Me Play campaign (and site) are highly effective in raising awareness for social change as it relates to gender, socioeconomic status, global warming. The site features interactive video and incredible stories from “Game Changers” around the world.
But the Game Changers contest for female athletes is particularly significant, given a historically consistent lack of opportunity internationally. This is a cause that female athletes and organizations around the world should support and participate in.
I checked out the entries so far, and I was really impressed with what’s going on. Here are some of my favorites:
SACRENA Teenage Mothers Soccer Academy (Kenya) – Teenage mothers both in and out schools play soccer league,develop transitional period to play from grassroots,national team to world cup for change.
Ballin’ Divas on the Move (U.S.) – Our goal is to help school-age girls to develop self-esteem, curb drug and alcohol abuse, prevent teen pregnancy and ensure high school graduation and admission into college. Our emphasis is teaching life skills and we do it through amateur sports including basketball and other sports like volleyball, softball, karate, dance,…etc in the future
BoxGirls (Cameron) – Boxing improves girls’ strength and resilience and allows them to better negotiate the urban environment. Boxgirls train as a team to face individual challeneges alone. The skills they learn in the ring bring them further in their schooling, family and career.
Like I said… very cool! I hope to see many more entries in the coming months, and I highly encourage those reading this to post about this contest, enter it, discuss it and promote it.