"Another step on the road to equality", says Missy Franklin

Back in March, on International Women’s Day, along with my other fellow women Laureus Academy Members, I was asked to spell out my wishes for the year ahead.
I remember saying: ‘My hopes centre around every young girl waking up and knowing that she has the opportunity to chase her dreams and fight for her goals every single day.’
This is a passion for me. I want to see girls, and young women, realise their potential.
What I love about being a member of the Laureus Academy and supporting the work of Laureus Sport for Good, is that through our programmes we get this done.
It's not just about being the best athlete, it's about being a more capable and fulfilled person with better life-skills and hopes of a
better future. Sport is the most amazing avenue to make that happen.
That’s why I loved reading the latest edition of the Laureus Sport for Good Review for 2020 which spells out the continuing progress which girls and young women are making in sport, wherever you look.
Figures from the review show grass roots sports with strong or equal levels of female involvement are up: netball by 73%, swimming over 200%, dance 112%, volleyball 11% and track and field by 41%.
These statistics mark significant trends. Laureus Sport for Good is a global network which funds, supports and evidences the impact of more than 250 community sports programmes around the world, which in 2020 directly involved more than 270,000 young participants.
It’s not a worldwide census, but it’s a fascinating glimpse of what is going on.
And the trend is strong in many sports often seen as a ‘male only’ preserve, where girls are challenging the norm. One of the biggest female increases-surprisingly, or maybe not-is in boxing and martial arts, where Laureus supports several programmes which are principally female based or appeal to all.
It shows how committed Laureus is to it pledge of gender equality, and in its support for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals–including via its ‘Women & Girls’ Social Focus Area, which makes grants to organisations using sport to create equality, empowerment and safety for girls and young women.
I want every young girl to have something to look up to, to aspire to, and to learn from, because we all got to where we are today by standing on the shoulders of those that have come before us. That’s what Laureus programmes deliver in more than 50 countries and territories around the world.
It’s heartening to see. And another step on the road.
I think after the 18 months we have had, we need that message more than ever.

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