Global Campaign to Raise Awareness for the Positive Power of Women in Professional Sports Launches Today
New York, NY (May 1, 2018) - She is one of the most important and most unrecognized professionals in modern society. Today marks the launch of SheIS, which acknowledges and elevates women in sports, and CELEBRATES those who are collective powerhouses and unwavering cheerleaders for their fellow athletes of all skill levels. The female athlete’s accomplishments makes her much more that a fitness figure, yet in current society, she is practically invisible.
In a time when every industry is taking a hard look at how women are being treated in the workplace, collectively, eight North American professional female sports leagues, including WNBA, WWE, Canada Basketball, National Women’s Pro Fastpitch League, US Tennis Association, National Women’s Hockey League, Women’s Pro Lacrosse League and the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, are pledging to empower all female athletes, professional and amateur, and encourage growth in fan attendance through the creation of the SheIS movement.
Founded in 2017, SheIS fills a noticeable gap in the sports industry, where female athletes may feel marginalized and underrepresented, with a powerful vision to use positivity, respect and support to empower women who choose a career in sports. With the goal of increasing resources, viewership, and attendance of women's sports in North America, as well as globally, SheIS encourages all female sports leagues to collaborate and support women in the sporting world, while challenging fans to attend games and use social media to champion women in sports.
Those who took the SheIS pledge at the time of launch include CWHL commissioner, Brenda Andress; National Pro FastPitch Commissioner Cheri Kempf; Ontario Women's Hockey Association (OWHL) President, Fran Rider; WNBA President Lisa Borders, Chief Executive for the US Tennis Association, Stacey Allaster; Chief Brand Officer for WWE, Stephanie McMahon; and the first-ever female NFL coach, Dr. Jen Welter. Also joining the aforementioned is the Founding Committee and Advisory Board made up of key women and men, including several businessmen and male athletes who support the movement. Later in 2018, SheIS will expand to collaborate with additional professional sports leagues and leaders in soccer, squash, skiing, cycling, and running, as well as others.
“For decades, we have played and cheered for our individual sports, but we haven’t yet looked across the field and cheered for other women on teams who play other sports. As we launch SheIS today, we are now finding strength in numbers and we are taking collective action as women who play sports,” said Lisa Borders. “We are cheering for women in general, expanding our horizons and definitively saying ‘sports is one of the things that we as women need to do,’ so we can teach our daughters and sons that the women can play. Let’s use sports as a platform for women to move the cultural, societal and political needles to create real, positive change.”
"The heroes who run, walk and play among us make up 51% of the global population yet have little to no visibility in the sports world,” said Dr. Jen Welter. “SheIS will give the first true platform for these real world, real women heroes who have been living amongst us. With that comes the opportunity to be much more visible and for female athletes and their supporters to join forces in a really positive way. I love that this bubbling movement is coming from the sports industry, because sports has the ability to change the world.”
Prior to the launch, on April 18, 2018, members of the founding committee, commissioners and prominent members from across the sports world gathered at the WNBA office in New York City to sign the SheIS Pledge. The pledge outlines a collective promise to support female sports across all leagues and today, is open to the general public via the SheIS website so others may join the movement in solidarity.
"The SheIS initiative for me is about making sure that females, especially young girls, have positive models in sports. I have four sisters, all of them are athletes, two of whom are teenagers, and it’s really inspiring for them to be able to look up to professional female athletes and say ‘I can do that one day, that could be me one day’," said Patrick Burke, a career sports executive.
The movement will kick off with the SheIS Challenge, which will see the founding leagues’ leadership and athletes, alongside prominent business leaders and ambassadors in and outside of the sports industry, posting to their social media channels using #SheIS, and challenging friends, family, and colleagues to go watch or attend women’s sporting events throughout 2018. Those challenged are then encouraged to share images of themselves attending or watching a women’s sports game and tag three friends, who are then given the same challenge. Sports leagues will also begin hosting SheIS events throughout the year, to help facilitate further opportunities for people to engage with women’s sports.
In addition to the SheIS Challenge, the initiative will focus on driving funding into amateur leagues through the SheIS Fund. This fund aims to help build the talent pipeline of future professional athletes includes a partnership with Fast & Female, an established North American nonprofit organization founded by Olympic Gold Medalist, Chandra Crawford.
For more information about SheIS, please visit www.sheissport.com.
SheIS hopes to empower women in sports in three ways:
1) Create a movement to build awareness for and support of overlooked talent across the women's professional, national, and collegiate leagues - leading to increased attendance and viewership of women’s sports, and in turn, increased sponsorship opportunities.
2) Capitalize on the democratization of sports viewership that has been created through digital media, especially streaming, by helping to establish partnerships and new avenues for distribution.
3) Use the SheIS fund, in partnership with Fast and Female, to help develop youth athletes across North America, creating a budding pipeline of talent for future years of women's professional leagues.