Williston Honors Title IX With National Girls and Women in Sports Day


Credit: Williston Northampton School Social Media

Williston Athletics and girls’ sports team have made it their mission to celebrate female athletics during the month of February.

Feb. 1 was National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and female athletes have taken to social media and other avenues to shed light on their athletic experiences at Williston.

June 23, 2022, marked the 50th anniversary of the historical Title IX, the federal civil rights law in the United States that was enacted as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. In simple terms, it prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. As one outcome of this law, females were given more equal opportunities to compete and participate in athletics.

The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) spearheads the celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD). The WSF’s mission: building a future where every girl and woman can play, be active, and realize her full potential. “We’re building a movement of movement. It’s time to transform the game so that every girl and woman can realize her power.”

NGWSD is an annual day of observance held during the first week of February to acknowledge the accomplishments of female athletes, recognize the influence of sports participation for women and girls, and honor the progress and continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.

On Sunday Jan. 22, Williston female athletes and coaches met in the Cox Room to discuss the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the upcoming celebration of NGWSD. However, these athletes and coaches wanted to do more than just celebrate for one day. They wanted to celebrate and promote Title IX and girls and women in sports at Williston all month long. Some ways that NGWSD has been celebrated on campus is by having girl teams do social media takeovers, painting the lion, and putting up flyers.

Melissa Brousseau, Associate Director of Athletics, shared her inspiration for taking the lead in this celebration.

“Williston inducted all women into our Athletic Hall of Fame in 2022 in recognizing the 50th anniversary of Title IX. I also met an alum from 1952 Northampton School for Girls and her stories competing pre-Title IX were astounding,” she said. “I realized I took a lot for granted regarding athletics & opportunity for play. As the only female athletic administrator for 26 years, I’m keenly aware of representation and challenges girls face in sports.”

Brousseau thinks that from a school perspective, [the NGWSD celebration] builds team spirit and bridges our programs together. She hopes that by sharing stories, prospective students can see themselves here and that alums remember their time here.

Post-graduate Jenna Guglielmi, from Branford, Conn., compares the support for female sports in comparison to her experience at Taft, her former school.

“I would say that the support for girls’ teams here is a powerful and distinct aspect of the Williston community. Coming from a team that received little support at our games, the support for girls’ hockey especially is something that is very foreign and admirable to me,” she said. “I once got into an argument with one of the school’s student videographers for his lack of girls’ sports in his ‘fall sports recap’ and he blatantly told me that nobody cares about girls’ sports, and he will probably not attend any of our games because they are boring.”

“To try and combat this I started a club called RAFA [Rhinos Advocating for Females Athletes] and had a lot of boys tell me that we would probably get a lot of backlash if we tried to use the administration to increase the support for girls sports,” she added. The Rhino is the school mascot for Taft.

Girls’ teams at Williston have more opportunities and support from the community than some other schools. It is important to continue promoting girls and women in sports not just at Williston, but everywhere.  According to the Williston Athletics Twitter, 93% of girls at Williston participate in a competitive sport, exercise, or dance.

As referenced earlier, girls’ sports teams at Williston have been given the opportunity to participate in doing social media takeovers on their team’s Instagram and Twitter accounts. 16 athletic teams have been assigned a day where they can share what their sport means to them and promote their team through their social media handles. With these takeovers, people can see first-hand what being a girl in sports at Williston is like. The common hashtag that can be found on post when promoting NGWSD is #NGWSD2023

Brousseau wishes to see even more support across the girls’ athletic teams in the future.

“My motivation is to hopefully see a future where all teams hype each other. We should be competing against other schools, not each other. When girls succeed, we all benefit.”

To stay connected and updated with women sports, consider following these social media accounts.@espnw @womenssportsfoundation @justwomenssports @onherturf