Empowering Female Athletes While Fundraising
I’ve always been an athlete at heart, so when I found my passion as a swimmer, I gave my 100 percent at every practice. My love for swimming forced me to ignore the sexism embedded within my sport and most sports. Girls were assumed to be slower than the boys on my team. Weird looks were shot my way every time I dared to enter a lane with the older boys: Does she really think she can keep up with them? When a swimmer was tired, my coach would say “Man Up!” a phrase that made me cringe. When my shoulders began to grow, it was considered a flaw, while my male teammates were strong for their large shoulders. I learned to ignore it all
Women throughout sports experience sexism. Women are asked questions about their love life, body, and outfits, while men are asked questions about their performance as an athlete. For this reason, the #covertheathlete movement began(http://covertheathlete.com/). Women sports events are rarely covered. On top of that, the pay gap between men and women is prominent even when women are attracting more viewers and are winning more titles, as shown in USA Soccer. Thankfully the female athletes took action(https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/sports/soccer/us-womens-soccer-equality.html).
For our first fundraiser, my club decided to address this problem on my campus. It’s a well-known fact at my school that boys’ teams attract crowds while most girls’ teams have nearly empty bleachers on game day. It had always irritated me when clubs that were supposed to be empowering women held fundraisers that sponsored the boys’ basketball team or the boys’ hockey team. Although the boys' teams are great teams that work very hard as well, these teams already receive a large audience and a lot of attention while girls teams rarely receive supporters. My club decided that we would support our Girls’ Hockey Team and host a fundraiser that would attract a crowd at one of their games.
We decided on selling long sleeve shirts that the audience could wear at the game we were sponsoring. Additionally, we would sell hot chocolate at the game. As we started to sell our shirts we started to realize that the people at our school were more inclined to buy products for boys’ teams than for girls’ teams. Yet, we knew it was worth it. We would be empowering a spectacular and hardworking team that rarely receives attention. As a club, we made more than 600 dollars for the school cycle fundraiser and were able to bring a large crowd to the girls’ hockey game that ended in a victory.
When planning a fundraiser or any event I encourage you to look around your school and look for creative ways to empower girls within your community!