In a world that is notorious for being a boy’s club, so far 2015 has proved to be an extremely good year for women in sports.
This past summer, the United States women’s soccer team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup, something we have been waiting for since the 1999 team inspired millions and made history 16 years ago.
This accomplishment, much like the win in 1999, gives women of all ages the confidence and assurance we can be just as successful as our male counterparts in the world of sports.
Arguably, the most testosterone-filled sport in the U.S. is Mixed Martial Arts, specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Ronda Rousey has emerged from the shadows as the premier-female fighter for MMA fighting. With a fearless attitude, Rousey has come into the spotlight swinging, so to speak, shutting down anyone who has a bad word to say about her fighting, but also about being a realistic role model for girls.
It is especially important to bring this issue up in the world of sports. Acknowledging there is a flaw in how women are represented in society is a huge step forward. It provides girls with realistic expectations of one’s self and also teaches them sports are good for the mind, body and soul.
Not only have athletes continued to make headlines, sports professionals have broken down barriers and made a place for themselves in what we all know to be a “man’s world.”
Earlier in April, the NFL surprised us all by hiring the first-female referee in history, Sarah Thomas. Personally, I was shocked with the new hire, considering how the NFL handles domestic violence issues among its players — what woman would want to work in a potentially dangerous environment, let alone for an organization that can’t even control basic human rights for women?
Despite my initial hesitations, that milestone was huge for women everywhere. I found myself optimistic the NFL would continue this pattern and look to hire outside of its normal fraternity in the future.
The NBA followed suit in August, hiring its first full-time assistant coach, Becky Hammon, for the upcoming season. I was a fan of this move, as it proves to other women in the field — such as assistant coach Natalie Nakase of the Los Angeles Clippers during summer league — there is an opportunity to move up in the field.
As a woman, an athlete, a sports fan and a soon-to-be professional, it is refreshing and bodes well for the future of any woman contemplating sports in her future, to see such strong women continuing to break down barriers and make their mark in the world of sports today.
The year is not yet over, and with all the progress we have made so far in athletics, I have no doubt that 2015 still has good things ahead for women in sports.