Today is National Girls and Women in Sports Day in the United States and there are lots of activities happening in cities across the country to celebrate the annual event.
If you can’t get to one of them, why not take a moment to read a story about a great Chicago organization, Girls in the Game, an after school program which uses sports as a vehicle for changing the lives of girls in the city.
ESPN’s Melissa Isaacson has written a nice profile about the organization and how it is shaping the city’s girls to grow up to be strong, healthy and empowered women. Here is how 16-year-old Whitney Young student Perriyana Clay sums up her experience: “I was always one to sit back and observe. I didn’t voice my own opinions. But Girls in the Game has helped me become an inspiration to others, to speak out. I learned that everyone has a voice and can bring something to the table.”
Photo Credit: Girls in the Game
Sport can play a role in improving the lives of individuals, not only individuals … but whole communities. I am convinced that the time is right to build on that understanding, to encourage governments, development agencies and communities to think how sport can be included more systemically in the plans to help children, particularly those living in the midst of poverty, disease and conflict.
- Kofi A. Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations
In 2013, the Through Her Eyes Project is planning on hitting the road again to capture the stories of girls and women in the developing world who are playing sports. We want to share their stories. We want to tell the world what they get from playing, what hurdles they face to play, and why supporting them in their pursuit of sport is not only important for them, but leads to success for their families, communities and countries.
We are working on the first steps of research and funding in these next coming months to make the trip happen. If you are interested in collaborating with the THE project or know of an organization that would like to help us or partner with us, please get in touch. Or do you have a story of a place we should visit? Share some of your stories and ideas with us by leaving a note below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awesome design by Katherine Walker - @Quite_Strong.
Check out some interesting and powerful facts from Girl Hub/Girl Effect on why investing in the lives of girls is so important to the future and development of the world.
• Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.
• Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.
• Nearly 50% of all sexual assaults are committed against girls aged 15 or younger.
• Approximately 1 in 3 females experienced some form of sexual violence as a child.
• About 70% of the perpetrators of sexual violence are men and boys from the respondent’s neighborhood, boyfriends or husbands, or male relatives.
CHILD MARRIAGE & EARLY CHILDBIRTH
• One girl in seven in developing countries is married off by the age of 15.
• One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
• Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 in developing countries. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely.
• 75% of 15-24 year olds living with HIV in Africa are female, up from 62% in 2001.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT
• When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 percent For men and boys.
Source: Girl Hub
Photo Credit: THE
Here are a few more shots of my visit to the U.S. State Department and my framed photograph of girls playing basketball at a school in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Photo Credit: U.S. State Department
A VISIT TO THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Last month was a big one. Lots of exciting things happened for the Through Her Eyes Project including a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with representatives of the SportsUnited Division of the U.S. State Department.
In October of last year the U.S. State Department announced the winners for a photography contest they ran titled ‘Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports.’
And guess what? I was the U.S. winner.
So in December I took a trip to D.C. to meet with the team heading up the State Department’s sports diplomacy initiatives. After lunch with some of the SportsUnited team, including Division Chief Cindy Gire and Program coordinator Trina Bolton, I met with Managing Director Chris Miner and Principal Director Assistant Secretary Adam Ereli. They presented me with an iPad and informed me that the photograph I submitted will now have a permanent home in D.C. at the U.S. State Department. I was obviously excited about the news!
I’m looking forward to further collaborate with the team in 2013 as our goals to use sports as a tool for development and social inclusion for women and girls around the world continue to align. You can read more about the great work the SportsUnited team is doing here. And keep following this blog for more information about the international work being done in the sphere of women and girls and sports for development.
Photo Credit: U.S. State Department
Tonight is the Chicago Art District’s Second Friday Event from 6pm -10pm.
So come down to the 1800 S. Halsted block in Chicago and check out the Through Her Eyes exhibit in the showPODs. We’ve transformed seven white walled storefronts into a multimedia exhibit with photographs and videos.
Stop by the reception at the storefront at 1843 S. Halsted where I’ll be and you can check out the work, learn more about the project, enjoy some refreshments and then explore the other area galleries.
What is your story? Looking for some stories to see. Come down and check out the Through Her Eyes exhibit in the Chicago Arts District on the 1800 S. Halsted Street block. Open everyday - you can check out the exhibit of photos and videos, see some stories and then share yours.
And we are up and running at the showPODs in the Chicago Art District on the 1800 S. Halsted Street block in Chicago.
In this cool public art project, seven street facing exhibition spaces are open for display to the public seven days a week/24 hours a day. In the Through Her Eyes exhibit you’ll see a display of a variety of photographs and videos from the project, including the photo that recently won an award from the U.S. State Department.
We’ll also be participating in the Chicago Art District Second Fridays event on December 14th, when area galleries will be open for viewing from 6-10pm.
Since the showPODs are visible from the street and are open 24 hours a day/seven days a week you can stop by now, on December 14th, and anytime until January.
You can read more about the Chicago Art District showPODs and the exhibit here.
What is showPOD? showPOD; (sho pod) n. 1.) a vessel to bring or put into sight; 2.) a seed for public display or exhibition
showPOD is a high exposure exhibition space, compact, dynamic, unmanned, and designed to support concepts of art experimentation and installation. Developed by the Chicago Arts District, showPOD creates an instant art experience in the non-traditional space and format of 24/7/365 exposure to art installation. showPOD by design, can be viewed by anyone at anytime during the life of its installation, allowing a rich public art experience that breaks down the traditional limits of gallery space or museum.
Getting set up for an exhibit in Chicago.
The Chicago Art District showPODs located along the 1800 block of South Halsted Street will soon be full of the Through Her Eyes Project photos.
Stop by and check them out!
"Women, we are women fighters and we should be independent. Every day we should lift our heads and say yes we can. Not to say we are going above the men. But let’s try to one day equalize ourselves and not lower our heads." - Miriam Ramon, Olympic Fast Walker, Cuenca, Ecuador
(Photo: Lilia Llulluna Morales, Track and field athlete, Napo, Ecuador)
“WE HAVE BECOME CONFIDENT AND BOLD.”
In a story posted on the Women in the World Foundation website, Anna Louie Sussman looks at the progress and results that have come out of various projects aimed at using sports as a tool for development and empowerment. One of the programs she focuses on is Right To Play. The Right to Play project operates in more than twenty countries and reaches nearly a million children each week with the help of volunteer coaches. Nearly 50 percent of their coaches and the children they reach are female.
Sussman reports: “One young woman told her coaches that before she became involved with Right To Play, she feared talking back to her own brothers at home. “Now we can talk to anyone,” she said. “We have become confident and bold.”” You can read the whole story here.
Image source: Women in the World Foundation Website
Can sport be used as a tool for change?
Aid programs that provide women opportunities to better their health, education, and well-being have effects far beyond a single individual. A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community.