Courageous forward-thinking women fill the pages of our written history. They were not all sitting in their tower waiting for their knight in shining armor. Many women walked for days and knew how to ride horses. Our female ancestors preferred to remain active knowing that if they were sitting in damp castles, it was likely that they would eventually succumb to illness and an early death.
It is vital to appreciate the strong women who lived before you when building the strong women in front of us. Powerful and influential women throughout history were anything but passive, and they never let society determine who they were as a woman. Instead they broke away from the status quo to chase their dreams.
Despite this rich history, it would take centuries before women would be allowed to participate in competitive sports alongside men.
In 1900, for the first time, 22 women participated in the Olympics in Paris, France. The first individual female Olympic champion was Charlotte Cooper, a female tennis player from England.
Babe Didrikson was voted the Greatest Female Athlete of the first half of the 20th century by the Associated Press for excelling in golf, basketball, baseball and track and field.
Then in 1942, the United States created The Women’s Army Corps.This auxiliary unit turned to active duty status saw the first woman serve in the US military. These women were proving that female strength is far-reaching and not to underestimate their abilities.
Another woman who enacted social change while showcasing her extraordinary talent was Wilma Rudolph. She went from a child told she might never walk again, to the “fastest woman in the world” at her time. Not even polio as a child held her back from realizing her potential. In 1960 Olympic Games, she was the first American woman to win three track and field gold medals at one Olympic game. Post Olympics, she only agreed to attend her homecoming parade if it was integrated.
During the 1970s, the USA enacted the incredibly important passage of Title IX in 1972. This federal law focused on discrimination based on gender in athletics. This law requires female and male athletes have equal opportunities to play sports, and scholarships are based on participation not gender, as well as, other benefits that must be given equally to both male and female athletes. If schools do not comply, they are at risk of losing their federal funding.
At the time, female athletes were not given the same opportunities or resources as their male counterparts. There were few scholarships offered to women, with only 2% of school athletic budgets allocated to them. It applies to all programs in private and public institutions that receive any form of federal aid. Title IX assists all but was created to correct an imbalance in athletics and other programs. These legislative acts made gender equality a priority and were huge steps for women’s empowerment.
The ultimate power play and showcase of women’s talent came with the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes.” At the time, Billie Jean King was one of the best tennis players in the world who later went on to win 39 Grand Slam titles (singles, doubles, mixed doubles). Bobby Riggs, a decorated tennis player, ranked number one for a year during his time, challenged King to a match that pitted male against female. He claimed that even retired he could beat King because she was a woman. This created massive media attention as the two went back and forth with their banter. In the end, King clenched an easy win over Riggs. This victory was important for not only women’s tennis, but for all women underestimated because of their gender. Her influence stretched beyond the tennis court, as she was an advocate for women’s and LGBTQ rights.
“Sports teaches you character. It teaches you to play by the rules. It teaches you how to know what it feels like to win and lose – it teaches you about life.” – Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King uses her voice to champion for social justice and gender equality with the Women’s Sports Foundation she founded in 1974. The Women’s Sports Foundation recognizes the role sports plays when developing girls into leaders.
A queen knows the importance of empowering other women to believe in themselves, to take risks, and to embrace adventure while becoming strong minded and bodied.
A queen embraces passion, and this fuels her power and inspires others.
Adrenaline Monkey in Cleveland, Ohio is offering a Women Warrior Queens program for girls and women ages 5-100!
Women Warrior Queens is an opportunity for girls and women to focus on their strengths and to develop habits that help them to excel in all areas of life. Girls’ and women’s programs have been shown to build confidence, raise personal aspirations and create leaders.
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