Celebrating the breakthrough


credits: Canisius College Website

The 36th edition of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) took place on Feb. 2, and it celebrated the accomplishments of females in sports and the breakthrough of gender stereotypes in athletics. Dating back to 1987, the first NGWSD was in honor of Olympic volleyball player, Flo Hyman, who passed away in the previous year, for her achievements and devotion to promoting gender equality in the sports industry. 

“In 1987, the Woman’s Sports Foundation established the Flo Hyman Award, given annually as part of the National Girls and Women in Sports Day to the female athlete who most exemplifies the ‘dignity, spirit, and commitment to excellence’ with which Hyman played the game of volleyball,” African American Registry said in an article. 

The first celebration was in Washington, D.C., and since then, the day has commemorated female athletes and their journey to make the industry more inclusive; however, the holiday also acknowledges the struggle in equality that continues for women in sports. NGWSD reflects on the significant progress made since the passing of Title IX in 1972. The public law protects people from gender discrimination in educational and activity programs that are federally funded. This means that, regardless of gender, public schools are required to have equal participation opportunities in sports.  

“If it [Title IX] was not around, I would not be able to do what I love, and it has given me the opportunity to train with coaches around me community who have the right knowledge for my sports without and obstacles because of my gender,” Megan Lance, senior, said. 

NGWSD is popularly celebrated in communities and schools with activities that help increase female representation in male-dominated sports. This year, Cherokee County School District’s (CCSD) six high schools gathered their female athletes on Feb. 14 to recognize contributions that women have made in their sports. CCSD has held their own event since 2005, with Etowah female athletes attending every year. Due to COVID protocols, the six schools under Cherokee County hosted the presentations at their own schools. Each athlete received a NGWSD shirt as they arrived, and had the chance in a raffle to win other goodies. 

We were really able to focus on all of the individual sports teams and their accomplishments and accolades from the past year, as all of our student athletes work tirelessly at their sport and deserve to be recognized for their efforts, and this event gives us the opportunity to do that,” Victoria Carter, teacher/coach who organized the event, said. 

Women have made extreme progress in the sports industry, but the journey continues. Make sure to take a moment to acknowledge the accomplishments of women in athletics at Etowah and in the world.