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Eckerd’s Female Athletes Extend Support and Guidance to Young Girls on National Girls & Women in Sports Day

Sneakers squeak and basketballs thud against the McArthur Gymnasium floor during the Eckerd College women’s basketball game on Feb. 7. Cheers echo from the sidelines, echoing strength and support.

In the stands, a group of young girls don bright pink jerseys, eagerly observing the game, aspiring to be part of it one day.

“Women hold significant roles in athletics,” states Rebecca Clark, Eckerd’s associate director of athletics for internal operations and senior woman administrator. “Often, men’s teams receive more attention, marketing, and support, while women’s teams may not receive as much.”

Clark, along with Amanda Green ’16—Eckerd’s assistant director of athletics, marketing, and communications—are the masterminds behind Eckerd’s celebration of National Girls & Women in Sports Day®. This annual event, initiated by the Women’s Sports Foundation® in 1987, aims to recognize women’s sports. This year, Clark and Green invited local middle-school girls’ sports teams to campus to witness female Tritons in action. They had the opportunity to meet and interact with the women’s softball, soccer, cheerleading, and basketball teams, exchanging greetings and mingling with the players during the handshake line.

Junior marine science student Prue Criscuolo, hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, shares her grandmother’s recollection of a time when there were no girls’ sports teams in high school. “She became really excited when they started to become a thing,” Criscuolo recounts. “It’s been just 50 years since girls have had not exactly the same but similar representation. That’s significant.”

Providing young girls with the opportunity to meet female athletes playing their sport and witnessing college athletes compete in person validates their aspirations. In a world where men’s sports often take the spotlight, showing young girls firsthand that they belong can shape their futures profoundly.

Repeatedly, women’s sports are marginalized. Women’s programs may lack equal resources and often aren’t given the same level of recognition. Typically, fewer spectators attend women’s sports events, and professional female athletes receive less attention, compensation, and media coverage compared to their male counterparts.

National Girls & Women in Sports Day serves to empower every female athlete. Over the years, Clark and Green have organized various events to support Eckerd’s women athletes on Feb. 7. “Each year, we organize something unique for Women in Sports Day,” Clark explains. “We’ve hosted speakers to engage with our athletes. Last year, alumni joined us for a social event. But this year, we felt it would be great to involve the community.”

Green reflects on the profound impact sports have had on her journey. “Throughout my athletic career, I’ve been fortunate to encounter numerous supportive women who have provided guidance and support,” she shares. “I’ve also received encouragement from supportive male figures who have recognized and empowered the strength of women in sports.” This encouragement has influenced her path in life. “I’ve always strived to uplift and empower my fellow female athletes—whether they’re teammates, coworkers, students, or colleagues in my field.”

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