Although the role of women in sports has significantly changed in the last thirty years, female athletes have been paving the way to their own championships for thousands of years. Mary, Queen of Scots was golf’s first lady, and introduced the “caddie”, a corruption of the French word “cadet” who used to carry her clubs. In today’s world, the CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, played cricket and baseball.
The CEO of Kraft Foods, Irene Rosenfield was a four-sport athlete in high school. Ellen DeGeneres, famous TV host and actress, played tennis growing up. Former US National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, was a tennis player and competitive figure skater. Co-founder of Marvell Technology Group, Weili Dai, played semi-professional basketball.
These women are just as different in their sports as they are in their accomplishments. However, they share the common thread of being powerful, talented, successful, as well as former athletes. A survey of executive women found that 80% played sports growing up, and 69% said sports helped them develop leadership skills that contributed to their professional success.1 Celebrating its 28th anniversary today, National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) has grown from an event honoring one Olympic medalist (Flo Hyman) to acknowledging all female athletes across the nation.
Research shows a direct correlation between females playing sports and high achievement. It is suggested that any girl who participates in sports will have a higher level of confidence and self-esteem while lowering any form of depression. Along with confidence, regular involvement in sports supports long-term health benefits, social networking, sportsmanship, commitment, academic knowledge, and perseverance.
We’d love to hear stories from you! Do you play sports? What about your mother, sister, daughter, or wife? Share with us the female athletes in your life and how it enables you/them to be more successful.
1. From the Locker Room to the Boardroom: A Survey on Sports in the Lives of Women Business Executives.