Author: Annie Butts, NACWAA Membership & Advocacy Intern
“I am a Woman
? Maya Angelou
In the world of sports, every day brings wins and losses. This Women’s History Month, NACWAA is remembering the hard-fought battles, celebrating the victories, and honoring the strong, inspired, passionate and resilient women who have had the courage to raise their voices, both individually and collectively, in favor of progress and equality.
As women, we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without the trailblazers who have propped open the doors of opportunity. Women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who inspired the women’s suffrage movement; Sandra Day O’Connor, who shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court; and Bernice Sandler, who was instrumental in the creation and passage of Title IX. We are inspired by women like Billie Jean King, who defeated gender stereotypes by beating Bobby Riggs in the famous “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match in 1973; Chris Ernst and the 1976 Yale Crew Team, who fought for their right to equal athletic opportunity; and Kyla Harrison, who overcame sexual abuse by a coach and gave the United States its first gold medal in judo at the 2012 London Olympics. Despite all odds, these women fought hard, refused to back down and ultimately changed the landscape of the women’s movement.
The victories of women around the country – including the countless victories of women working in athletics – have been the catalysts for remarkable progress. Take a look down the halls of athletics departments around the country and see administrators and coaches alike molding future female leaders, advancing to top positions, leading with integrity and inspiring their peers. This month, and every day, they deserve to be honored.
Women’s History Month is about remembrance, but it is also about celebration. Take the time this month to remember where we’ve been and how far we’ve come, but don’t forget to celebrate the victories, big and small. Celebrate every promotion, every job well done, every step towards excellence and every step away from fear. Celebrate the people who inspire you, the people who hold their ground in the face of adversity and the people who dare to question the status quo. Most importantly, celebrate yourself and the work you do every day.
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