It’s no secret that female athletes aren’t always afforded the same opportunities or equal pay as their male counterparts. And a wealth of research calls out the objectification of women in media surrounding sports.
Perhaps that’s why, according to a report from the Women’s Sports Foundation, 40 percent of teen girls don’t participate in sports (compared to only 25 percent of teen boys), or why, by the age of 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate that boys do.
But the following six activewear and gear brands are working to elevate untapped female talent and close the gender gap in sports. And you can support them because, after all, team work makes the dream work.
adidas: adidas has long been an advocate for women and girls in sports. In 2018, the brand announced its She Breaks Barriers initiative as a continuation of its commitment to break down the barriers holding women back in sports. The initiative introduced a series of partnerships to provide access, to remove stereotypes, and to address inequalities for female athletes at all levels and ages.
In 2019, the brand became a founding partner of United for Girls, a new initiative from the U.S. Soccer Foundation that aims to increase soccer opportunities for women and girls in underserved communities and, ultimately, double the number of girls impacted by the foundation’s programs and the number of U.S. Soccer Foundation female coach-mentors over the next three years. And, throughout its legacy, adidas has continuously worked with renowned female athletes to launch product lines that empower women and girls in sports. Most recently, for example, adidas Skateboarding and Nora Vasconcellos (the first woman to join the adidas team) revealed a debut unisex skater collection.
Orvis: Orvis—maker of fly rods, reels and fishing gear—is committed to introducing more women to the sport of fly fishing. The brand’s 50/50 On the Water initiative aims to create more opportunities for women to cast a line, hook impressive fish and make the catch of a lifetime. A portion of the proceeds from gear with the 50/50 logo (like the Logo Twill Ball Cap, $29) goes to creating more fishing courses, resources and experiences for women.
Roxy: It wasn’t until 2018 that the first (and only) United States-based global sporting league, the World Surfing League, which operates more than 180 global events annually, announced equal pay for male and female competitors in all 2019 events and onward. But it’s not only the gender pay gap that hampers women’s success in the sport—young girls tend to steer clear of surfing out of intimidation.
But Roxy’s all-female team of professional surfers empowers young girls and women. In 2018, Roxy launched the global campaign, “Make Waves, Move Mountains.” The campaign “celebrates the empowerment of women in action sports and beyond… [and] helps promote a message of strength and support to young women of any age, sport, or dream.” Support the brand by shopping its surf products, like its line of wetsuits here.
Nike: Nike is all about empowering women and girls. The brand believes that “girls who move, move the world.” And it’s not wrong. In fact, a study conducted by the EY Women Athletes Business Network and ESPNW suggests that 94 percent of women executives in the C-suite played sports, 52 percent of whom played at the university level or higher.
That’s why, together with Women Win and Gurls Talk, Nike launched the Gurls Talk Made to Play Fund to support the female coaches who are changing the lives of young girls in their communities. With hundreds of applicants across 45 countries, 17 women were awarded funding for their projects impacting girls under the age of 14, as well as leadership and mentorship training from Women Win. Support the brand by shopping its women’s products, like its new HyperWarm, thermal top ($85).
Burton: While snowboarding is a largely male-dominated sport, Burton is paving the way for women who ride. Programs like Burton’s Women’s Learn to Ride Camp for riders of all abilities, coupled with Burton’s own largely female team, position Burton as a top brand behind women and girls. In fact, women represent over 40% of Burton’s leadership team, while they made up just 10% of the team in 2003.
Meanwhile, Burton’s nonprofit foundation, Chill, assists thousands of young girls overcome challenges in boardsports through a youth-development curriculum that teaches them core values like respect, patience, persistence, courage, responsibility, and pride. Support the brand by shopping its array of snowboarding products, like its new Eastfall performance jacket.
Tecnica: Tecnica is a leading outdoor footwear brand that designs carefully crafted hiking boots, trail shoes, ski boots and more. And it’s dedicated to supporting women who ski. Tecnica’s Women to Women (W2W) project is “a global Blizzard-Tecnica initiative with the mission to specifically design authentic women’s products that will take all committed and passionate skiers, regardless of ability, to new levels of confidence, excitement, and freedom.” The boots are made by women for women.
Thanks to the W2W, Tecnica’s array of ski boots are thoughtfully engineered to fit female feet.
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