WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT?

Sports can change lives and are one of the most important elements that we can provide for girls and women.  Girls and women not only get physical fitness and strength, but through sports they create a sense of community, gain empowerment, face barriers, and then break through them to pursue wins on and off the field.  Involvement in sports has been shown to increase levels of education and involvement in the workforce, elevate levels of income, and improve the lives of those involved. 

Sports can and should be used and viewed as a vehicle to improve the social, physical, and psychological well being of girls and women.

But in many countries, girls and women do not have the opportunity, nor the support, nor the places to play. Reasons for this range from social norms and restrictions imposed by family, schools, and governments, to limited places to play or equipment to use, to a lack of images in the media. These elements can combine to keep girls and women on the sidelines in sports, and in their daily lives.

This is why our work matters. 

A Lack of Support

Minimal media coverage and minimal financial and social support is a reality for many girls and women in developing countries where cultural stereotypes delineate sports as an activity reserved for men. Historically, this lack of media coverage, and in turn role models, paired with limited funding and strictly defined gender roles, have combined to deter girls and women from participating in athletics in developing countries, and in high poverty and underserved communities in the United States. Pair these limitations with a lack of resources, from limited places to play to not having equipment or clothing to play in, and there are many barriers that keep girls and women from getting in the game. By focusing on telling these stories to shift the way women and girls are seen, and connecting those who lack funds and equipment with resources, we are are working to change this. 

It’s complicated here. It is rare to see a woman get on a bike.
— Ketty Loja, Cyclist and coach

If You Can See It, You Can Be It

The images that surround us, influence and affect us. By producing a visual and written example of strong, empowered girls and women who are playing sports and breaking the mold, this project creates images aimed to fill a media gap that exist in some spaces. They are a call to get women and girls into the game. A call to parents, spouses, and teachers, that demonstrates the power that can come from sports. These stories, images, and voices also aim to bring awareness to our communities, families, teachers, leaders, non-governmental organizations, governmental organizations, and corporations about the benefits that involvement in sports brings to girls and women, and a call for greater support and funding for sports for girls and women. Providing an opportunity for girls and women in developing countries to be exposed to sports opens doors to much more than just success on the field, it creates a space for girls and women to become agents of change and leaders

They look at you strangely. And some people insult you. For many girls, they leave the sport because of this. But I just keep practicing and keep playing. I know this is something that I want to do and I don’t care what people say.
— Rosa Tenorio Silva, Weightlifter
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Filling the Media Gap and Passing on the Power

We must pass on to our young people that they have the capacity to do and be whatever they want. You have to pass many barriers and be brave, but we have the capacity to do it.
— Elizabet Velapucha, Basketball player and coach

By bringing these girls and women, and their stories into the public eye, we make change. By passing on the tools or how to tell one’s own story - we empower a new generation. The images and voices serve as a touchstone - a common vision or thought or experience, that others can lean on and learn from.  We create a new generation of girls and women by sharing these images and thoughts, and by showing that sports can serve as a social conduit for destroying social barriers that many times restrict the roles of women. And, by sharing the power of telling one's own story, and the skills of how to do it, we can empower the next generation of powerful women to be whatever they want to be: CEOs, politicians, scientists, mothers, journalists, lawyers, media makers, and leaders.

 

 

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Cross Cultural Collaboration

When we share our stories, a bridge is made. By creating a space for girls around the world to share stories about their lives on and off the field, we are helping to build bridges across cultures, countries, religions, and sports. This cross cultural collaboration in conversation and in the form of financial support, is part of our mission. Because sharing and telling stories, is not the only part of the way that change happens. 

 

I feel strong in my soul, my mind, and not just my body. It is a very important part of my life. It gives me strength to do everything. When I play basketball, that is the part of the day that I stop thinking about my problems.
— Cecelia Vaca, 28 years old, Basketball

More than Just a Game

Since many girls and women in developing nations, and high poverty, under served neighborhoods of the U.S., face more challenges than simply getting the ball passed to them - among them: filling the role of head of household, supporting families with limited resources, discrimination, and sexism, initiatives to include sports in the lives of girls and women lives can not simply provide a place to play, but should address issues such as education, familial and spousal abuse, health and AIDS/HIV education. We partner and work with organizations working in all aspects of development, because when sports and the empowering powers of play combine with education, training, and resources, the opportunities for girls and women to lead, become endless.