Westminster College celebrated the 30th National Girls and Women in Sports Day to honor and acknowledge its women athletes on Feb. 6. The celebration took place in the Dolores Doré Eccles Health, Wellness and Recreation Center (HWAC) from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
There were 232 girls and women registered for the celebration. The women participated in three different sports, with breaks in between each, and the event concluded with snacks.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) began in 1987 to bring attention to the continuing struggle for women’s equality in sports today.
“We celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day because, generally, girls and women in sports are the underrepresented population,” said Traci Siriprathane, director of HWAC.
Girls tend to stop participating in sport activities in junior high because of societal pressures from friends and other interests, Siriprathane said. However, she said the benefits of playing sports far outweigh those pressures.
The importance of representing women in sports today is significant because it empowers women and girls, said Alyse Horton, public health major and athlete for the Westminster volleyball team.
“I think it’s really important for young girls to see older women playing sports,” Horton said. “Participating in this for the past several years, I love seeing the girls getting excited about sports because they see older women playing sports.”
Siriprathane, director of HWAC, said women and girls who are hesitant about participating in sports due to societal pressures should find someone to participate with, as it’s not as intimidating.
The event is “an opportunity for girls to be coached and mentored by professionals in the field and to have fun,” Siriprathane said.
Horton, a Westminster athlete, said it’s important for women to step out of their comfort zones.
“Don’t be scared,” Horton said. “Try new things. Try things you’re not comfortable with.”