The U.S. Department of State believes that sport is a vehicle to advance the status, liberty, and well-being of women, girls, and marginalized people at home and abroad. Through its partnership with espnW and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace & Society to implement the GSMP: Empower Women through Sports program, the Department of State aims to expand the footprint of Title IX and its message of equality and opportunity for women into every corner of the world. This sports diplomacy effort allows new generations of girls to experience the many benefits of sports participation: increased confidence, improved health, greater employment opportunities, and enhanced academic success.
The U.S. Department of State and espnW partnered to create GSMP: Empower Women through Sports, whose initiative is based on the growing evidence that women and girls who play sports are increasingly likely to excel both on the playing field and in life. According to research, women and girls’ participation in sports is an important social and economic empowerment tool: 1) Women and girls acquire new professional networks, develop a sense of identity and access new opportunities to become more engaged in school and community life; 2) Sports serve as a vehicle to improve women’s and girls’ leadership roles and participation in decision-making; 3) Sports convene people across borders, cultures and belief systems, and can promote greater tolerance and understanding among individuals and communities; 4) Girls’ participation in sports can challenge gender stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes; and 5) Studies show a direct correlation between girls’ participation in sports and higher education and employment.