Never Again Girls and Women without Sport

By Murray, Mimi | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, October 1996 | Go to article overview

Never Again Girls and Women without Sport


Murray, Mimi, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Recently, it has been proposed that the members of AAHPERD need an association with a sole commitment to sport and athletics and that perhaps NAGWS and NASPE should restructure to provide for this. Implicit in this idea is the suggestion that NASPE eliminate its "S" (Sport) and that NAGWS eliminate its "GW" (Girls and Women). From my experience as the president of both NAGWS and AAHPERD, I proffer, more simply, that if members' needs are not being addressed by national associations, the members should seek to change the services of their own associations from within. Those who question the efficacy of NAGWS are either those who never understood (or wanted to understand) the need for such an association, or those who are not members of NAGWS.

It might be wise to clarify some misperceptions. NAGWS is not gender specific. All members are welcome, whether male or female. NAGWS does have a gender-specific mission. Any AAHPERD member who has daughters; or who teaches, coaches, or administers girls' and women's programs; or who is truly committed to equity in sport, including - but not limited to - race, religion, lifestyle, and gender, should belong to this association. NAGWS has a rich heritage of advocacy for those who have been disadvantaged and denied opportunities because of societal constraints.

It has been said that we continue to repeat our predecessors' mistakes because we fail to read meeting minutes and the contents of our in-boxes; thus, it might prove interesting to briefly review just a few of NAGWS' advocacy efforts to see how significant these contributions have been. Dating from the beginnings of this association in 1899, some of the most far-reaching and effective advocacy efforts have included the following:

* The publication of rulebooks for sports for girls and women when there were no others and when no other group was willing to publish them

* The rating of officials for girls' and women's sports through written and practical examinations

* The initiation of the first collegiate national championships for women in 1969

* The lobbying for and passage of Title IX

* The 1972 founding of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), the loss of which not only women's sport, but all sport, is still suffering from

* The initiation and implementation of five International Girls and Women in Sport Conferences

* The 1987 establishment of National Girls and Women in Sport Day;

* The lobbying for and passage of the Civil Rights Restoration Act in 1987

* The constant reminders to the AAHPERD membership to be more inclusive of all people, respect our differences, honor our similarities and eliminate "isms" from our Alliance and culture.

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