Hillary Clinton: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports

As we continue to be bombarded with stories about the sexism of the Republican presidential nominee, I thought it was time to spend a few minutes on the other side of the ledger. I have written previously about Hillary Clinton’s embrace of a feminist foreign policy while she was Secretary of State, and recently learned about another initiate she took along those lines.

In June of 2012, on the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX (the landmark federal civil rights legislation that prohibits sex discrimination in education), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a partnership with ESPN titled: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports.

According to the United Nations, when girls participate in sports they are more likely to attend school and participate in society. When women and girls can walk on the playing field, they are more likely to step into the classroom, the boardroom, and step out as leaders in society. Drawing on the principles of Title IX— the landmark U.S. law that afforded equality for American women in sports and education–the initiative is designed to inspire participants to take these lessons of equality worldwide. Since 2012, the U.S. Department of State has worked with The Center for Sport, Peace, and Society at the University of Tennessee—the cooperative partner—to implement the Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative.

One of the major components of that initiative is the Global Sports Mentoring Program.

To see how this initiative is impacting an issue that is in the headlines today, take a look at Dima Alardah’s story.

A story like this doesn’t get told very often because it is battling against the odds of what our media tends to focus on: it is about women/girls and it doesn’t have an “if it bleeds, it leads” appeal. But I was reminded of some things President Obama said to Matt Yglesias a while ago about the need to look at our foreign assistance programs as part of our national security portfolio.

For those of us who want to promote peace, we are going to have to reorient our attention to things like this that can often seem small and inconsequential – but are the building blocks to a more stable globe.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.