Photo courtesy of Sky Blue FC.
With the excitement around the success of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, female athletes in this year’s U.S. Open tennis championships, growing buzz around the WNBA playoffs and countless other wins and accomplishments in sports, female athletes are in the spotlight.
A United Effort to Promote Women’s Sports
The global passion around women’s sports aligns perfectly with SheIS, an organization whose mission is to use the power of women’s sport to create a future of, by and for strong women. Their goal is to make careers in sports a viable option for women today and in the future, by “giving women the opportunity to reap the benefits of having sport in their lives from the top down, through increasing viewership and attendance and bottom up via participation.”
Founded in 2017, SheIS launched publicly on May 1, 2018 by a group of women and men who pledged to stand united in an effort to promote women’s sports. Today, their collective consists of more than 26 organizations, including NWSL, WNBA, WWE, USTA, NWHL, WPLL and NPF, as well as leaders from every major sport.
The SheIS Challenge
This year, SheIS launched the SheIS Challenge, an initiative that encourages fans to watch and attend women’s sporting events and share their experience on social media. Using your email address, you pledge to attend or watch women’s sports and then post on social media using the hashtags #SheISsport and #SheISchallenge.
The organization’s founder Brenda Andress asked attendees at the 2019 WISE/R Symposium to take the SheIS Challenge, “We need you. We need you, the fan, to buy a ticket. We need you, the fan, to turn the TV on. The sponsors, the TV networks, the writer, they’ll all write about us once we have the fan. And that’s what this challenge is about.”
Andress continued, “It’s such a simple message; we just need you to sign-up. Please care enough for all of the athletes out there that are paving the way for our daughters, our grandkids, aunts, sisters, to make money, to get the jobs in those professional sports, and you can make the difference.” For each sign-up, SheIS is donating $1 to support the growth of girls’ participation in sports, up to $1 million. The master event calendar helps supporters easily find women’s sporting events happening each week.
Last month, the U.S. Open partnered with SheIS and other sports entities to encourage fans, players and partners to share videos and images on social media of those female athletes that inspire them, using the hashtag #WomenWorthWatching.
“Women’s Equality Day coinciding with Opening Day of the 2019 U.S. Open was the perfect opportunity to reaffirm the USTA’s long-standing commitment to gender equality,” said Nicole Kankam, the United States Tennis Association's managing director, marketing. “We’re thrilled to partner once again with SheIS to help celebrate women not just in tennis but across all sports and show the world why women are worth watching.” The campaign aired on ESPN and the Tennis Channel during the tournament’s broadcast coverage.
WISE Takes the Challenge
“We talk about women supporting women in the workplace. Well, we have some female colleagues whose workplace is on the field, on the ice and on the court, and we need to support them as well,” said Kathleen Francis, national board chair and president of WISE.
To that end, the WISE National Board and NYC Metro chapter are taking the challenge and stepping up to support women athletes by attending the NWSL Orlando Pride at Sky Blue FC game on Sunday, Sept. 29.
We encourage you to take the pledge or get involved with your local WISE chapter or friends and family — and remember to share photos of you cheering on your local female athletes.