Billie Jean King’s trouncing of Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes in 1973 signaled that women were ready to compete as equals, ready to succeed in all arenas. It was in that spirit that Billie Jean founded the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) over 40 years ago to serve as the collective voice for women’s sports. She knew then what research has since confirmed: that the skills girls learn from sports would make them successful on the field, in the classroom and in the C-suites around the world.
The Women’s Sports Foundation is dedicated to providing safe and equitable opportunities so that all girls receive the significant health, education and leadership benefits associated with sports opportunities. WSF’s work shapes public attitude about women’s sports and athletes, builds capacity for organizations that get girls active, ensures equal opportunities for girls and women and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. We operate through five guiding pillars: research, advocacy, grants and programs, collaborations and leadership. Early on, we recognized the need for a structure that relied on solid data to fuel advocacy and grant programs and to establish broad-based, high-level relationships with stakeholders to maximize human and financial resources. Our strategically directed coalitions and partnerships enable us to serve as the conscience striving for equal opportunities for girls. Importantly, we’ve learned that periodic “disruption days” are healthy ways for our leadership to evaluate relevancy and meet future demands. While we have seen great strides in women and girls’ participation throughout our four decades, we recognize that there is still more work to be done.
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