Pretty Smart! On Monday June 6, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will launch the Women’s World Cup Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports. The event, which will be streamed live on www.state.gov. will take place 9:30 am ET at the Department of State with members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and youth soccer players from around the world.
This initiative is a joint effort by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. The partnership hopes to harness the power of sports and international exchanges as a means to empower women and girls worldwide.
The announcement is part of the build-up to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will take place ths summer in Germany, and the kick-off to the 40th anniversary year of Title IX — the U.S. law to provide equal oppor wtunity for men and women in academics and athletics.
In her address, Secretary of State Clinton will highlight the influence Title IX has had on girls and women in the United States, and will talk about her goal to see similar initiatives undertaken worldwide.
Among the guests that will be in attendance are current USWNT players Ali Krieger, Lori Lindsey, Nicole Barnhart, Jillian Loyden, former USWNT members Linda Hamilton and Tiffany Roberts, former USWNT coach Lauren Gregg, Olympic gold medalists Michelle Kwan and Dominique Dawes, and chairman of the 1999 Women’s World Cup/Women’s Sports Foundation Donna de Varona.
The initiative has three facets that are all currently underway
Sports Visitor Program
Three girls and one coach have been selected from six countries – Bolivia, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, and the Palestinian Territories – to participate in the proceedings. The sports visitors were nominated by U.S. embassies in their respective countries after earning personal recommendations. The girls and coaches are currently in the U.S. and will be in attendance at today’s USWNT send-off match versus Mexico in Harrison, New Jersey. On Wednesday, Tiffany Roberts will host a soccer clinic for the visitors before they return to the White House later in the day.
Sports Envoy Programs
Partnering with U.S. Soccer, former Women’s National Team players Briana Scurry and Amanda Cromwell traveled in May as Sports Envoys to Germany to lead soccer clinics and engage young audiences in Berlin, Dresden, Wolfsburg, Sinsheim and Frankfurt. In addition to Scurry and Cromwell’s trip to Germany, former U.S. Women’s National Team player Linda Hamilton and former U.S. Men’s National Team player Tony Sanneh will lead programs in Pakistan. Former U.S. Women’s National Team players Shannon MacMillan and Michelle French will travel to Brazil later this year.
Women’s Sports Management
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ International Visitor Leadership Program will lead a parallel 10-day international exchange program for five sports management professionals. With an emphasis on the administration of women’s and girls’ soccer programs, the program will allow the visitors to exchange ideas and best practices in the management of sports and recreational programs with their American counterparts.
The Women’s World Cup initiative builds on Secretary Clinton’s vision of “smart power diplomacy,” which uses the full range of diplomatic tools – in this case soccer – to bring people together and foster greater understanding among people and cultures.
The power of sports in girls’ lives can’t be discounted, especially in developing countries where educational opportunities for girls are limited. Studies show that girls that play sports show a higher tendency to go to school. One year of education increases a girl’s earning power by 15 to 20 percent.
The initiative is expected to have a tremendous impact on the individuals involved, particularly for the sports visitors who will be set to spend time with the U.S. Women’s National Team days before the team departs for the World Cup.
Follow @AnnaTState on Twitter for live updates of the event on Monday, June 6 @ConnectStateGov for more info.
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