Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative
In February 2012, the U.S. Department of State announced a global effort to engage women and girls through sports.
In February 2012, the U.S. Department of State announced a global effort to engage women and girls through sports. The Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative mobilizes all of the U.S. Department of State’s international sports programming, from Sports Envoys traveling overseas to international Sports Visitors traveling to the United States, to increase the number of women and girls worldwide who are involved in sports. A cornerstone of this initiative, the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, connects emerging women leaders from across the globe with their leading American women in sports. Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools – in this case sports – to bring people together and foster greater understanding.
U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program
Harnessing the power of mentoring, the Department, in collaboration with espnW, connects international and American women to build capacity and create sports opportunities for underserved women and girls worldwide. In the fall of 2012, 17 women from every region of the world were paired with leading American women who work in a sports-related field for a month-long mentoring program. The successes of this inaugural 2012 Global Sports Mentoring Program will serve as a solid foundation for future years. Participants are identified by U.S. Embassies overseas and may include women who: administer or manage sports programs; manage and/or coach sports teams; work in mid-to-upper management roles for corporations with a sports-related focus; work at non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and specialize in sports journalism and mass communication, sports marketing, and sports medicine.
This mentoring program is a cornerstone of the Department’s broader Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, which aims to increase the number of women and girls worldwide who are involved in sports. It builds on Secretary Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the full range of diplomatic tools—in this case mentoring and sports—to empower women and girls and foster greater understanding.
Sports Envoys are current and retired professional athletes, coaches, and sports program administrators who travel overseas on behalf of the Department of State to engage underserved youth-particularly girls and female coaches. They lead clinics and team-building activities, as well as start a dialogue with youth on the importance of education and respect for diversity. In 2012, as part of the Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, the Department of State sent 12 American envoys to Argentina, Malaysia, Morocco, and Venezuela to engage with young athletes on the playing field, share their experiences as female athletes in the U.S., and discuss the importance of gender equality and diversity.
Sports Visitors are youth and coaches who travel to the United States for a dynamic 10-day program. These sports exchanges provide young people with an opportunity to discover how success in athletics can be applied in the development of life skills and achievement in the classroom and beyond. In 2012, the Department of State brought girls and female coaches from The Bahamas, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe, to the United States for Sports Visitor exchanges in basketball, soccer, and track and field.
Learn more about the programs:
- Bumping Up Efforts to Empower Women and Girls Worldwide: Gulf Nations Volleyball Coaches
- Celebrating International Women’s Day Through Soccer
- Egyptian Soccer Coaches Visit the U.S.
- Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports in Morocco
- Empowering Women and Girls: WNBA Basketball Envoys in Ukraine
- Envoys Tamika Raymond and Kiesha Brown Travel to China
- Sports Diplomacy and Senegal: Empowering Women and Girls through Basketball
- Sports Diplomacy Softball Envoys: A Hit in Nicaragua
- Soccer Envoys Empower Women and Girls in Argentina
- Soccer Envoys Travel to Malaysia
- Soccer in Santiago: Empowering Women and Girls through Sports in Chile
- Track and Field Athletes from the Caribbean Visit the U.S.
- U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team in Japan
- Women's NCAA Final Four