Women's Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation—the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports—advocates for equality, educates the public, conducts research and offers grants to promote sports and physical activity for girls and women.
Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, the Women’s Sports Foundation builds on her legacy as a champion athlete, advocate of social justice and agent of change. We strive for gender equity and fight discrimination in sports.
Our work shapes public attitude about women’s sports and athletes, builds capacities for organizations that get girls active, provides equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles.
The Women’s Sports Foundation is recognized worldwide for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence. For more information, please call the Women’s Sports Foundation at 800.227.3988.
Principal StaffKathryn Olson, Chief Executive Officer
Stacy L. Holand, Athlete Marketing Manager
Yolanda L. Jackson, Senior Director of Athlete Marketing and Promotions
Karen Kranitz, Executive Assistant to the CEO and Board of Trustees
Shari M. Levitz, Annual Giving and Membership Manager
Gwendolyn Singleton, Data Entry Clerk
Chris Voelz, Leadership Gifts Officer
Stephen Collins, Information Technology Manager
Barry M. Giaquinto, Chief Financial and Operations Officer
Felice Harris, Accounting Manager
Lindsay Hock, Web Editor
Aleia Naylor, Senior Marketing Officer
Liz Ruttenberg, SHENetwork Project Manager
Sarah Axelson, Program Associate
Ph. (516) 542-4700 x148
Jessica M. Blubaugh, Senior Events Manager
Stacey Careri, Foundation and Government Funding Manager
Candice Dixon, GoGirlGo! Atlanta Program Coordinator
Jennifer L. Eddy, Senior Director of Programs and Events
Elizabeth L. Flores, Program Officer
Cicley Gay, GoGirlGo! Senior Program Officer
Kerry Milhaven, Events Coordinator
Whitney Post, GoGirlGo! Boston Director
Areas of Expertise:Body Image & Wellness, Awareness & Education, Title IX, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Health, Reproductive Rights & Sexuality
Projects & Campaigns
The Women’s Sports Foundation Research & Policy Institute is a multidisciplinary network of specialists who seek to enhance the quality of girls’ and women’s experiences with sports and physical activity through evidence-based research and policy development.
Even 35 years after the passage of Title IX, a federal law granting girls and women in high schools and colleges the right to equal opportunity in sports, female athletes across the nation are placed at a disadvantage in comparison to their male counterparts. The more you know about the rights of girls and women in sports, the more you will be able to improve athletic opportunities for them.
It Takes A Team! is an educational program designed to end homophobia in sport. Learn more
GoGirlGo! is the primary programming focus of the Women’s Sports Foundation designed to combat the alarming physical and psychological health hazards affecting America’s young girls. GoGirlGo! uses sport and physical activity as an educational intervention that supports girls’ health and wellness in childhood and early womanhood.
Reports & Resources
Progress Without Equity
A first-of-its-kind report on gender and high school sports participation. “Progress Without Equity: The Provision of High School Athletic Opportunity in the United States, by Gender 1993-94 through 2005-06, flows from an analysis of high schools that is unprecedented in its national and historical scope. It uses merged data from the Civil Rights Data Collection and the Common Core of Data, which is collected by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The report examines gender differences in athletic opportunity in a nationally representative sample of 24,370 public four-year high schools across 1993-94, 1999-2000 and 2005-06. Three measures of the extent of athletic opportunity are documented including the number of athletic participation opportunities, the number of teams, and the number of sports. This report was authored by Don Sabo, Ph.D., Professor of Health Policy, D’Youville College, and Phil Veliz, M.S., University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.
Her Life Depends On It II
In December 2009 the Women’s Sports Foundation released a new and expanded comprehensive review of its essential “Her Life Depends On It” report, first released in 2004. The benchmark 2009 review draws critical conclusions that further emphasize the vital roles that sports play in the physical and social health of girls and women. The report is compiled from more than 2,000 studies examining women’s athletics and health, including hundreds of new studies conducted in the five years since the last report was released.
Her Life Depends On It
The most comprehensive compilation of research to date about the impact of physical activity on the physical, psychological and cultural health of girls. The report points to physical activity and sport as fundamental solutions for many of the serious health and social problems faced by girls. These include obesity, heart disease, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression – which accounts for much of the more than $1 trillion spent on healthcare for treating these issues.
Go Out and Play: Youth Sports in America
An exhaustive study of children’s participation in sports and exercise, "Go Out and Play: Youth Sports in America" is the first to document the benefit of sports to the wellness of families. The Women's Sports Foundation partnered with Harris Interactive to survey 2,185 third- through 12th-graders and 863 parents in this unprecedented investigation of the numbers of children playing, types of sports being played, the demographic profiles of today’s child athletes and the role of family and community in shaping kids’ physical activity. Although the report finds children’s play linked to healthier children and more content families, many parents, especially African-Americans and Hispanics, reported that schools are shortchanging their daughters. The first study to examine sports among children from immigrant families and children with disabilities, "Go Out and Play" reports these subpopulations are in greater jeopardy of being shut out of sports. The most at-risk group — urban girls — receive far fewer opportunities to play.
Who's Playing College Sports: Money, Race and Gender
Money, Race and Gender, the most accurate description of college sports’ participation patterns to date, shows that both men’s and women’s sports participation have increased over the past 25 years. It examines factors, including Title IX and athletic expenditure growth, impacting today's college sports participation trends, which vary widely by sport. Changes in high school sports participation, rising health care costs, increased numbers of international students, and college recruitment are explored, as well as the implication of these participation trends on college sports’ diversity.
Who’s Playing College Sports? (part 1)
June 23, 2007, marked the 35th anniversary of Title IX -- the pivotal legislation credited with increasing gender equity in sports. In addition to celebrating, the Foundation is unveiling original research, entitled "Who's Playing College Sports." This study provides the most accurate and comprehensive examination of participation trends to date. Read more about the study or browse our online database to find out if your college makes the grade.
Physical Activity and Athletic Competition for Individuals with Disabilities: A Women's Sports Foundation Position Statement
Do schools have an obligation to provide physical education for students with disabilities? Do students with disabilities have the right to compete on their high school sports teams? Read the Foundation's position statement on the rights of individuals with disabilities in physical activity and athletics.
Women in the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Increasing women’s participation in the Olympic Movement as participants and leaders has been a slow and challenging process. While the number of ”events” open to female athletes has increased steadily during the past 30 years, the actual number of opportunities for females to medal within those events has yet to equal the number of male participants or medals.
Women in Intercollegiate Sport A Longitudinal, National Study Thirty One Year Update: 1977-2008
Prepared by Linda Jean Carpenter, Ph.D., J.D., Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College, and R. Vivian Acosta, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College, this study is perhaps the most comprehensive in American women's sports history. New findings reveal highest numbers of participation ever, contrasted with low representation of women in sports information and physical training positions.
East Meadow, NY, June 23, 2011 – In celebration of the 40th year of Title IX, the Women’s Sports Foundation is kicking off a year-long celebration of women in sports beginning June 23rd, 2011 – the 39th anniversary of the landmark legislation’s signing. With the call to action, “Get Your Game On, Girls!,” the Women’s Sports Foundation is encouraging everyone to get in the game in support of girl’s and women’s sports, and to help keep the promise of Title IX alive.
Title IX, which ensures equal access to both men and women in federally-funded educational programs and activities, including sports, was enacted in 1972, when just one in 27 girls participated in high school varsity sports. As a result of Title IX, and the work of the Women’s Sports Foundation, that number has increased to about two in five today. In women’s collegiate programs the increase is more than 500 percent. However, while both men’s and women’s sports participation reached all-time highs in 2010, females have 1.3 million fewer high school and more than 60,000 fewer college sports participation opportunities than males.
“We’ve come a long way, but there is still work to be done,” said Women’s Sports Foundation founder Billie Jean King. “Title IX has been and continues to be the driving force behind providing women and girls more opportunities in sports, but as we enter Title IX’s 40th year the gaps between boys and girls are still substantial. As a community, it’s our duty to provide these opportunities for both girls and boys and everyone should have a chance to play.”
The Women’s Sports Foundation seeks to build awareness and appreciation for all that Title IX has done. The legislation is not only responsible for the surge in women’s athletics, it is the reason our society has more women doctors, engineers, judges, political leaders and women in business than it did 40 years ago. Title IX also paved the way for stronger public policy for men and women with impairments, including athletes.
Throughout the course of the next 12 months, the Women’s Sports Foundation is calling on women and men, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and anyone who cares about helping young people flourish to participate, advocate and support the Women’s Sports Foundation’s programs for girls and women.
“Athletics are an important educational opportunity,” says Women’s Sports Foundation President Laila Ali. “Sports and physical activity teach girls valuable life lessons on teamwork, endurance, self-reliance, leadership, confidence, physical fitness, and yes – fun. Missing out on those opportunities can mean missing out on key lessons you may not learn in a classroom.”
The benefits of playing sports go far beyond the schoolyard or playing field. Research demonstrates girls who participate in sports and physical activity are more likely than inactive girls to have better emotional and physical health, get better grades, graduate from high school and go on to college. In fact, a study found that four of five executive businesswomen played sports growing up, attributing the lessons they learned on the playing field as a key to their success.
“You can help keep Title IX alive by advocating and educating others about the importance of this very important legislation,” said Women Sports Foundation CEO Kathryn Olson. “And we want you to participate by making a commitment to yourself or a girl in your life to Get Your Game On with the Women’s Sports Foundation on Facebook. You can also donate to help the Foundation provide opportunities for more girls to become physically active.”
The Women’s Sports Foundation will mark Title IX’s 40th anniversary year with a series of events and programs, including:
WomensSportsFoundation.org – A bold, newly redesigned digital community for people who care about girls’ and women’s sports, health and fitness. The web site will showcase the “voices” of the world’s top female athletes, offer advocacy tools and resources, provide access to grants and education, and inspire WSF supporters through a powerful combination of Sports, Health and Education (SHE).
GoGirlGo! – This signature program of the Women’s Sports Foundation combines an award-winning curriculum with sports and physical activity programming for girls who are sedentary or not participating in regular activity. The GoGirlGo! program, designed for girls 5 to 18, has reached over 1 million girls in underserved communities.
Travel & Training Fund – The Women’s Sports Foundation’s Travel & Training Fund provides direct financial assistance to aspiring female athletes for coaching, specialized training, equipment, attire and/or travel. Grants are awarded to individual and team athletes and are based, in part, on need.
32nd Annual Salute to Women in Sports – This star-studded annual gala honors the accomplishments of athletes and supporters who have opened doors for girls and women competing in athletics at all levels. This year’s gala will be held on October 19 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
Title IX at 40: Progress and Promise – Equity for All – This conference, taking place in May 2012, will be hosted by the Women’s Sports Foundation and University of Michigan through their mutual partnership, The Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls (SHARP).
Details on these and other upcoming events in this 40th year of Title IX can be found as they are announced on www.WomensSportsFoundation.org. To get involved, visit Facebook.
About Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation, founded in 1974, is the leader in promoting sports, health and education for girls and women. With Billie Jean King as its founder and ongoing visionary, the Women’s Sports Foundation continues to have a profound impact on female athletics, from its vigorous advocacy of Title IX legislation to providing grants and scholarships, grassroots programs for underserved girls, and groundbreaking research. An agent for change, the Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence. For more information, please call the Women’s Sports Foundation at 800.227.3988 or visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.
Anne Marie Carver, Zeno Group
Yesterday a federal district court in Connecticut held that Quinnipiac University discriminated against women in violation of Title IX when it played its own counting games, designed to limit the athletic participation opportunities for its female students.
In the 1970s, distance swimmer Diana Nyad was unstoppable. In addition to winning multiple swimming marathons, she was the first woman ever to swim around the island of Manhattan, and she holds the World's record for longest ocean swim - 102.5 miles from the island of Bimini in the Bahamas to Jupiter, FL, set in August of 1979.
Nominate your favorite female athlete for the Sportswoman of the Year Awards. This award is presented to one individual and one team sport athlete whose performances during the past 12 months have been exceptional.
We know there's always been a large discrepancy in media coverage of men and women's sports but a 20-year study of network and cable by USC & Purdue sociologists has found that men took 96% of sports news in 2009.
New York, N.Y., March 29, 2010 – The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, and a driving force in attracting girls and women to sports, better health and education, today named Kathryn Olson as the new CEO of the organization. Olson, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2005, served as chair of the Governance Committee.
The transition in leadership of the Women’s Sports Foundation is effective immediately.
Ms. Olson has had a distinguished career as a senior marketing executive for a number of prestigious organizations, most recently as Chief Marketing Officer of Shutterfly, the leading internet-based social expression and personal publishing service. Prior to Shutterfly, she was CMO at LeapFrog, a developer of innovative, technology-based learning products, a Vice President of Marketing at the William Wrigley Jr. Company, and an Executive Vice President at Nordstrom that helped launch the highly regarded Internet apparel site. She spent more than a decade with The Quaker Oats Company, including two years as Director of Marketing, Gatorade Europe. She holds a BS from the University of Illinois College of Commerce and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Olson has served on a number of non-profit boards and today serves on the Advisory Board of Regen Living, a creator of personal and home electronics powered by light. Last year, the San Francisco Business Times named her as one of the Most Influential Women in Business.
In announcing Ms. Olson’s new position, Stephanie Tolleson, Chairman of the Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation, said, “Kathryn joins us at a pivotal time in the history of our organization – a year during which we will be launching a number of exciting new initiatives. She has been an exceptionally effective and involved member of our Board of Trustees and brings profound experience in key areas, such as digital and global marketing, to us.”
Ms. Olson follows Karen Durkin, the foundation’s previous CEO. Ms. Tolleson commented, “We are very grateful for Karen’s commitment to the Women’s Sports Foundation, her strategic thinking, and the many inroads she has made for our Foundation over the last two years. We know her talents and expertise will continue to benefit organizations such as ours, especially in the sports arena.”
Opportunities, Grants & Fellowships
The Womens Sports Foundation (WSF) seeks a partnership with a compatible university to develop and house the first university-based comprehensive Women’s Sports Research & Policy Center (RPC). The WSF intends to continue its leadership role as the gold standard of scientific legitimacy in girls and women’s sports and physical activity research and the RPC will be the engine and delivery vehicle for meeting our objectives. We strongly believe that such a partnership will be a powerful asset to both the WSF and the university.
Behind every Women’s Sports Foundation grant lies one concrete objective: provide girls access to sport and physical activity despite background or financial ability. Grants are awarded to girl-serving organizations who strive to provide diverse, underserved populations of girls ages 8 to 18 with a way to get involved in sport and physical activity.
The Women’s Sports Foundation awards grants nationwide, but places a strong emphasis on Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and San Antonio metropolitan areas via the leadership of our community offices.
What We Do
NCRW is a network of leading university and community based research, policy, and advocacy centers with a growing global reach dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls. We also have a Corporate Circle comprised of senior diversity professionals from leading U.S. and global member companies and a Presidents Circle of college and university leaders who share our commitment. NCRW harnesses the collective power of its network to provide knowledge, analysis, and thought leadership on issues ranging from reducing women’s poverty to building a critical mass of women’s leadership across sectors.