Chelsea Clinton has a message for young girls: persist. While this may sound political — especially coming from someone who grew up on the campaign trail — her message is one that applies to everyone. The participation gap between boys and girls in sports exists, and it matters. In fact, less than 50 percent of middle school girls get the recommended amount of daily physical activity, she writes.
In an open letter to young girls published yesterday on Refinery29, Clinton explains that she has always loved watching women in sports and continues to be inspired by athletes like Florence Griffith Joyner, Mia Hamm, Serena and Venus Williams and Michelle Kwan. The message promotes the work of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation — a nonprofit working on ending childhood obesity founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton writes, “I’m so grateful for these athletes who show us how #GirlsAre fierce competitors and performers, and even more grateful that my daughter and my son will grow up in a world where they will have these amazing women — and the women whose names we don’t know yet — as role models to inspire their athletic dreams, to fuel their imaginations.”
According to Clinton, by the age of 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. But this isn’t just about filling a roster on a girls’ soccer team: “This gap in physical activity results in fewer opportunities for girls to develop critical teamwork, confidence, and leadership skills that will help them thrive throughout their lives — as well as to be physically healthy,” she writes.
The thought behind this is that if girls routinely drop out of participation in physical activities in middle and high school, they’ll be less likely to negotiate a raise or start their own business, making it more difficult to reach their full potential in society.
Clinton’s final advice to young girls? “Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Persist and know you’re not alone. Because #GirlsAre athletes, #GirlsAre competitors, and #GirlsAre meant to do incredible things.”