It's no secret women face more obstacles across different aspects of sports compared to male athletes. In an effort to honor their commitment of listening and learning to all players, on Thursday Nike announced the Nike Athlete Think Tank, a permanent platform that maintains supports for women athletes and redefines opportunities in sport for a new generation of women and girls.
This wasn't an overnight idea by The Swoosh, but rather a year-long initiative made possible by the brand's roster of superstar athletes. Those who lent their expertise include Ada Hegerberg, Angela Davis, Bebe Vio, Dina Asher-Smith, Deyna Castellanos, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Nafissatou Thiam, Sabrina Ionescu, Scout Bassett, Serena Williams, Shalane Flanagan, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Simone Manuel.
The Nike Athlete Think Tank is a collective dedicated to amplifying the voices of women athletes. Because women and girls don’t have equal access to play and sport, we teamed up to share our experiences and turn insights into action and fight for gender equality. pic.twitter.com/z7liY5fh3u
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) March 17, 2022
"The Nike Athlete Think Tank is a collective dedicated to amplifying the voices of women athletes," Williams wrote in a tweet. "Because women and girls don’t have equal access to play and sport, we teamed up to share our experiences and turn insights into action and fight for gender equality."
Over the last year, Nike asked the aforementioned pros for their honest feedback. "We opened up the conversation to hear their insights and help inform where we can be better," Tanya Hvizdak, VP, Women’s Global Sports Marketing said in a statement. "We specifically asked how they believe sport can move the world forward, how we can help break barriers to sport, and how we can better leverage their input and ideas."
During their countless in-person and video meetings, all women stressed the importance of inclusion and accessibility. A large part of succeeding in athletics is having the monetary assets to do so. The 13 athletes stressed to Nike that eliminating financial worry would significantly increase the likelihood of women continuing on their chosen sport. Women's bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and they deserve to be embraced, respected and supported. Training while on your period, during pregnancy, motherhood and other body concerns are just a few perils every woman faces in her journey as a competitor.
Nike wasted no time turning feedback into action. Joining forces with Charities Aid Foundation America, the Oregon-based company pledged $1.3 million to support organizations that reflect how each Athlete Think Tank member promotes a sense of belonging for women, girls and all adolescents — both on and off the playing field.
The funds will be dispersed across a total of 20 organizations to reflect the advocacy of the 13 members.
Williams recommended the Yetunde Price Resource Center, an organization named after her late older sister that works with trauma-informed programs to promote healing and resiliency.
Ionescu threw her support behind the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, an organization set up in the wake of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant that provides funding and sports programming for underserved athletes.
Muhammad opted to spotlight the Social Impact Fund, a nonprofit that provides expert support to members of the entertainment and creative communities in hopes they reach their philanthropic endeavors
"The power of community, the power of being able to manifest positive energy, and the power of listening to the athlete and how that can move our brand forward — it can’t be overstated," Hvizdak emphasized. More information about the Nike Athlete Think Tank can be found at nike.com.
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