The uplifting events that took place recently depict the continued push for equality in sports

By Nicole Ganglani 

As a woman active in sports all my life, it hasn’t been easy to relate to society.

I grew up playing and watching basketball—a male-dominated sport—in a country that treats it like religion. During my grade school years, I couldn’t play the sport I love simply because there wasn’t any women’s basketball team around. To add to that, the basketball camps offered here in the Philippines were once always for men, which relegated me to watching on the bleachers and wishing it was me dribbling the ball instead.

I’m sure a lot of women in sports can relate to my experience one way or another. From being labeled as a tomboy for playing the sport to being told “oh you’re a girl, I’ll take it easy on you” by boys, I always felt there was an invisible barrier.

That barrier, however, never stopped me from pursuing my passion for the game and for equality—just like fellow women around the world. With recent news about women’s intensifying the fight against inequality, it’s suffice to say that we’re heading towards a more equal era for women in sports.

In the past month, there have been major milestones and groundbreaking events that have uplifted women’s involvement and equality in sports. In case you missed it, here are three events that made headlines in the past week:

Nike’s Newly Launched “For Her” Hypercourt in Bonifacio Global City

The first one, being extra special for me, was Nike Philippines’ first women’s basketball-themed hypercourt makeover in Bonifacio Global City.

In celebration of Women’s Month, the #NikeHyperCourtForHer makeover gives women around the Philippines their own basketball court to practice and play basketball. The brand conducted a training session where over 60 girls showed up to do drills and partake in a 3-on-3 tournament. If someone told me about this years ago, I would think they were kidding me but it feels encouraging that such a powerful sports brand is taking action to bring more women into basketball.

US Women’s Soccer Team Takes Action on Gender Equality

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More than two dozen members of the US women’s national football team sued the US Soccer organization for a gender discrimination lawsuit last Friday. The women’s soccer team, which has achieved over three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals, believe that they deserve equal pay and better working conditions.

Led by superstar Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd, the lawsuit was because of low paychecks and the lack of support the team received from the soccer organization specifically for training, travel, medical treatment, and coaching resources. This move is an embodiment of women standing up to what they believe in and deserve in sports. The US women’s soccer team’s case was also backed up by tennis icon Serena Williams, herself a staunch supporter of gender equality.

Nike Unveils Women’s World Cup Football Kits

For the first time in history, Nike has launched its latest football kits specifically made for 14 teams competing in the Women’s World Cup in France this June. All teams will no longer don the uniforms made for men but instead get their own classic kits.

Nike creating more soccer female apparel is proof that the sport is also dominated by women; hence investing in women-specific uniforms is a step towards gender equality. The rise of more women-specific gear paves the way for us to carve a stronger identity in sports.

These three events are a reminder that women are not any way inferior to men, even in sports. There may still be barriers but if there’s one thing we know it’s that women have the ability to rule sports and we’re pretty damn amazing at it—we can play just as good or even better than men can.