Giving Girls a Sporting Chance – New Huffpost

In this week’s Huffington Post article, Billions Rising founder Anita Casalina tackles the rapidly changing world of girls’ sports. Pointing out the clearly positive impact of girls’ sports participation, Anita cites the work of Dr. Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who found that women who play sports are more likely to enter a male-dominated field, and more likely to out-earn their non-athletic female counterparts. Dr. Stevenson stresses the causal relationship between sports and life performance: “It’s not just that the people who are going to do well in life play sports, but that sports help people do better in life,” she says.

Anita then tells us about four unique organizations that are working to increase girls’ participation in sports around the world: Figure Skating in Harlem, Women Win, Beyond Sticks and Skateistan. Skateistan is a particularly interesting group: they essentially brought skateboarding to the kids of Kabul, Afghanistan in 2007 when the founder accidentally dropped a board in the street and was mobbed by curious kids. They welcome kids 5-18, and half of their skaters are street children; 40% of them are girls. They’ve built a skatepark along with a full-blown educational facility, with classes focusing on life skills that enable the kids to better their futures.


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