“Every girl wants to be Danica [Patrick]", says Alba Colón, director of competition systems at Hendrick Motorsports. "But Danica needs a crew chief and needs engineers to make her who she is.” Just as NASCAR needs female and minority crew members and engineers, to secure its future.
Women, particularly those of color, in sports media long have had to battle to be heard, but Ogwumike aspires to be a role model. “I get to play at our game’s highest level while adding more diversity to the sports media world,” says Ogwumike. “Hopefully I help inspire a new generation of girls to get creative and pursue their passions.” Even when it’s two passions at once.
In June 2017, mixed-gender events in athletics, swimming, table tennis and triathlon have been added to the Summer Olympics schedule in Tokyo 2020, with International Olympics Committee sports director Kit McConnell telling reporters at the time, “We have taken a really important step forward in terms of gender equality.”
The Box Girls of Nairobi tells the story of how one local boxing coach and a young mother, Jane Knight, are using boxing to push back against the violent and antiquated treatment of women in Kariobangi. Following a contentious national election in 2008, violence against women increased in the nation’s slums. Alfred “Priest” Analo, operator of a boxing gym at the local community center, noticed shifting demographics in his crowd. “I could see girls and women, sometimes they would stream into the gym,” Priest explains in the feature. “I told them, ‘Yeah, you know you can do what you want to do. … If you want to box, I’m there.’”
As more young women see faces like Taylor’s on their TV screens, the current shift in the industry is bound to continue. And to listen to ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza, the first female analyst in baseball history, that shift signals a much larger movement: “It’s not about young girls wanting to be analysts. It’s about girls realizing that they can do anything.”
The Spotlight found that 71 percent of female small business owners believe that at least 25 states will sponsor state-enacted paid maternity leave policies over the next 20 years. Additionally, the Merrill Edge report found that 38 percent of women believe it is very important that their investments benefit the advancement of women. In other words, both studies found that women foresee further progress in the workplace and want investments that support them.
"This holds especially true for women, whose opportunities to build on even the most standout collegiate careers are frighteningly slim. That’s not lost on Johnson. With a degree in applied psychology and human development, she’s aware that her future may very well hinge on what she does off-ice. Still, she’s all in on the National Women’s Hockey League. “I’m just enjoying being a professional right now,” says Johnson. “All of my life, college hockey was the top tier, but this is a whole new level of competition.”