Responding to young, female athletes’ fight for respect in sports, Nike is launching ATHLETE, a multi-platform campaign that Nike US Brand Director, Nancy Monsarrat, says “challenges stereotypes and provides a platform for female athletes to air their views.” Several world-class female athletesâ€”including Mia Hamm, Gabby Reece, Picabo Street, and Serena Williamsâ€”are involved in the project, and push for equality and respect through various broadcast, billboard, print, and digital media. ATHLETE’s base line, as streetballer Alvina Carroll orates, is that as far as being an athlete is concerned “It’s not a girl thing. It’s not a boy thing. It’s a skills thing.”
Nike aims to get female athletes the recognition that they deserve for their supreme athletic abilities, to encourage young girls to participate in sports, and to support the ones that do. One reason the mission is so vital is that, as studies have shown, girls in sports have greater self esteem, are less likely to take drugs, and perform better in school. A tangible impact of the campaign is the Let Me Play for Girls Fund. This community outreach aspect of ATHLETE involves the $425,000 ($25,000 in cash and $400,000 in sports footwear, apparel, and equipment) upfront donation from Nike that will support both the girls in sport and their sports programs. Nike will also support girls’ athletics through the $1 donation from every sale of ATHLETE tee-shirts and bracelets which are available at Niketown, Nike.com, and participating retailers.
Student and professional female athletes’ ability to “just do it” despite the odds is enough to warrant them praise. It’s time they get their due appreciation.