Alabama celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day
This week’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a good measure of how far women’s sports have come.
This is the 36th consecutive year with a day dedicated to celebrating women in sports, and 2022 is also the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which helped women’s sports in getting equal rights which continues to progress.
Former Alabama football player Martin Houston, who is the Senior Director of Membership Growth for Alabama One Credit Union, discussed how it was important to recognizing women athletes.
“A lot of times when it comes to the male sports, everybody wants to be there. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we believe that it is mission critical that you have balance,” Houston said. “We believe that a great opportunity in terms of partnership, influence and impact resides in the women’s sports.”
Since 1972, there has been a 900% increase in of women participating in sports. In 1972, only 7.4% of college athletes were women. Today, 44% of college athletes are women.
Shelton State women’s basketball Head Coach Madonna Thompson, who was also part of the Alabama team to reach the Final Four of the 1994 Women’s NCAA Tournament, said that the progression of women’s sports is unbelievable.
“If you’ve ever been in my office, you’ll see a picture hanging on my wall. It’s my grandmother, and it’s her high school basketball team,” Thompson said. “Back then, they played the three on three because they didn’t think a woman was strong enough or healthy enough to run the court like the men did.”
Crimson Tide women’s tennis Head Coach Jenny Mainz is the longest tenure coach in the Alabama athletic department, said she was fortunate to participate in sports all her life.
“My mom or my grandmother didn’t have the same opportunities, and they didn’t have full scholarships to go to college and play on an athletic scholarship,” said Mainz. “I think it’s just the beginning. I think there’s going to continue to be awesome opportunities created for young women.”