National Girls and Women in Sports Day

National Girls and Women in Sports Day might be a long name for a holiday, but it’s one that most people recognize as important to celebrate. This holiday is celebrated on the first Thursday in February and is a day when people can recognize the influence of sports participation for both women and girls, and acknowledge the accomplishments of female athletes. It’s also a day when people can honor and help advance the struggle for women’s equality in sports.

The History of National Girls and Women in Sports Day

This holiday was first created by Proclamation 5506 by President Ronald Reagan on February 3, 1987. It began as a day to remember Flo Hyman—an Olympic volleyball player who had significant achievements as an athlete and worked tirelessly for equality. Flo died suddenly from Marfan Syndrome while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since the founding of this holiday, it has evolved to recognize the efforts of all female athletes for both their current and past sports achievements. It has also been used to acknowledge the positive influence of sports on girls and young women, as well as the influence that female athletes have had on society.

Facts About Girls and Women in Athletics

As we dug into the history of this holiday, as well as the history of female athletics, we came across some facts that we think everyone will find interesting. Below are some of the facts that we discovered and would like to share with everyone now.

  • Girls make up just 42% of all high school athletes.
  • Approximately 2.8 million girls and 3.9 million boys play high school sports.
  • Women in Division I colleges are over half the student body but only receive 43% of athletic scholarship dollars.
  • Women in Division I colleges also only receive 32% of sports recruiting dollars.
  • Even though the second-century traveler Pausanias wrote that women were banned from viewing the Olympic Games, that law was never invoked.
  • The first time women participated in the Olympic Games was in 1900 at the Paris Games.
  • In 1920, there were 65 female athletes at the Olympic Games, and by 1936, there were 331.

Celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Probably the biggest way that a person can celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day is by taking the time to become involved in female athletics in their area. The first step in that process can be visiting the Women’s Sports Foundation to find out how to get involved. People can also spread the word about this holiday by using the hashtag #NationalGirlsAndWomenInSportsDay on their social media accounts. Let’s let everyone know the importance of girls and women in sports and all work together for a more equitable sports environment for women.

When is it?
This year (2024)
February 7 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
February 5 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
February 1 Wednesday