HE&R Celebrates International Women's Day
Throughout March, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts is celebrating Women's History Month. This email was shared with our staff members on International Women's Day in recognition of the impact of women on sports and athletics.
Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a time to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the globe. Since 1911, IWD has been celebrated in numerous countries, but it was not formally recognized by the United Nations until 1977. Although the day will be commemorated differently from country to country, the message is the same. In celebration of IWD, we want to honor some of the female trailblazers in sports.
Although the first recorded Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C., the first modern-day Olympics took place in 1896. Four years later, the Olympic Committee committed to equality and welcomed women who made up just over 2% of competing athletes. Today, that number is nearly 50%. The first American female Olympic gold medalist was golfer Margaret Ives Abbott at the 1900 Paris Games. Margaret helped blaze a trail for future Olympians including gymnasts Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, and Simone Biles, skier Lindsey Vonn, swimmers Dara Torres, Amy Van Dyken, and Katie Ledecky, and the beach volleyball duo of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings.
For decades, women have excelled in two team sports - ice hockey and soccer. Since their debut at the 1998 Winter Games, the U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey team has medaled in every Olympic appearance including earning two gold medals. The U.S. Women’s Soccer team has dominated the field since their 1999 World Cup win. With four World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals since 1999, it’s no wonder stars like Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, and Megan Rapino are considered some of the best all-time athletes.
Billie Jean King’s name tops the list of female trailblazers. She made history by breaking barriers. Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by LIFE magazine, Billie Jean King fought for women to have equal billing, respect, and pay in tennis. Her efforts enabled women like Chris Evert and Serena Williams to become some of the most decorated athletes in the sport.
More and more, women are also making their influence and expertise felt in the front office as leaders and coaches in sports. In 2019, the Philadelphia Eagles made headlines with its appointment of five female leaders - the largest representation of any NFL team and more than half of the team’s top brass. Becky Hammon was the first female coach in the NBA, currently serving as assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs. The 2021 Super Bowl included two female coaches, Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and NFL official Sarah Thomas, all making history.
The history books are replete with women who have excelled in sports, but there are many records to be broken and positions to be held.