Girls With Dreams Become Women With World Cup Titles
If you are like me and, according to several reports, most of the population of the United States and world, you followed the incredible journey of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) as they earned their fourth World Cup victory. It was truly inspiring as a woman, a mother and a Girl on the Run.
Perhaps you watched because you once saw a young Mia Hamm embody every dream you had as a child and were finally given permission to believe: girls can be strong, confident, joyful, united, brazen, successful athletes and leaders. At Girls on the Run St. Louis, we want all the girls we serve to have an equal opportunity to best utilize their individual skills and talents.
Perhaps you, too, are outraged about gender wage gaps and the challenges facing girls, women, families and communities that the USWNT has courageously given voice. Beyond the soccer field, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, should this pay disparity continue to go unaddressed and at current pace it will take white women until 2059 to finally reach pay parity with white men. Hispanic women would have to wait until 2224 and Black women until 2119 for equal pay.
Maybe it was the collective courage of the USWNT and reminder that the next generation is watching as they embody the GOTR core value to stand up for ourselves and others. At Girls on the Run St. Louis, we want every girl we serve to grow up confident in her ability to be financially independent and to receive equitable compensation for the work she does.
And perhaps it was all of those reasons and 65,000 Girls on the Run St. Louis participants since 2002 more! Whatever the reason, I believe we share a collective thank you. Thank you, USWNT. For showing our Girls on the Run and all of us the unbridled, unapologetic joy in being successful. For celebrating each other without hesitation. For your tenacity and grit on the field. For winning on the biggest international stage four times and doing it with less pay. For fighting to make the world more equitable for the young girls coming up behind you. For representing our country with excellence and distinction. For inspiring my sons, our Girls on the Run, and countless other kids who want to be just like you when they grow up. Thank you for being an example of courage, confidence and a Girl on the Run that we can all look to with admiration.
I have the joy and privilege of serving as the Executive Director of Girls on the Run St. Louis. An organization unwavering in its belief in the inherent power and possibility in every single girl. As we launch our new fiscal year and our strategic plan, it is this same sense of gratitude, urgency and passion with which we celebrate the USWNT that is our guide. As they have continued to remind us, work remains to be done. Our mission is to empower girls for a lifetime of healthy living. The girls, families and schools we serve all operate within the context of the greater St. Louis community and we are thoroughly committed to the health and well-being of the region at large. We realize that our work is one piece of the effort to improve the health of our shared community and are committed to being part of affecting change that is truly “moving the needle” on larger community and societal issues. But our focus remains and our work always begins and ends with her: how can we create this reality and shape the future for the girls we serve. A future where they no longer face systemic barriers simply because they are female. A future where outdated gender stereotypes that dim girls’ star power are eliminated. Because when she is given the opportunity to feel confident, know and activate her limitless potential, feel connected to and able to make a difference in her community, it is transformational. It begins with a Girl on the Run and we each get to play a pivotal role in this important work!
Thank you. Thank you for being part of our mission, our strategic plan, and our Girls on the Run movement to ensure our Girls on the Run can dream big, believe in their possibility and be uniquely themselves. She, you, us - are exactly who we have been waiting for!