Title IX – History, Importance, and the Story of Carol Hutchins

Title IX – History, Importance, and the Story of Carol Hutchins

51 years ago, one of the most important pieces of legislation was signed into law by then President Richard Nixon. June 23, 1972 will forever be the day we honor and celebrate those who came before us to ensure protection by the law from sex discrimination in activities in any institution that receives federal aid. This marked a huge milestone in the fight for equality in sports, programs, and activities.

The law reads verbatim: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Why Title IX is Important

Educational Opportunities

Title IX not only eliminates the ability to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation – it gave freedoms to women that they historically did not have before, and made them protected by the law. One of those freedoms is the right to an education. Women were routinely denied the right to an education. In 1970, women made up only 14% of doctoral degrees; in 2007, they accounted for more than 50% of doctoral degrees. This spike in education for women is due in large part to the commitment by women who fought for it to be signed into law; without their unwavering commitment and pressure on lawmakers, we would not be where we are today.

Participation in Sports

Before Title IX was enacted, women were not guaranteed the right to participate in sports, much less have the same opportunities afforded to them as their male counterparts. That all changed with the enactment in Title IX; participation in sports for girls and women skyrocketed, both at the high school level and the collegiate level. Under Title IX, federally-funded institutions are required to be rewarded equally with scholarships; this means that they do not necessarily need to have the same number of scholarships, but they have to be granted the same amount of funding for women’s and men’s sports. Women and men’s sports are also required to have access to the same types of facilities, training centers, and equipment.

While we still have a ways to go in the fight for equal treatment, we have come a long way in the 51 years since the enactment of Title IX. Girls and women today are forever indebted to those who paved the way before us in moving mountains to get Title IX signed into law.

Empowering Girls Alum Carol Hutchins – Story of Title IX

You may recall from our Empowering Girls event 2022 when Carol Hutchins, record-breaking softball coach at University of Michigan, shared her story about how a fire was lit under her during college in regard to Title IX. She was told by the men’s basketball coach at Michigan State, where she was on the women’s basketball team, to “get off the court, because nobody cared about women’s basketball”. If you know Coach Hutch, you know that didn’t sit well with her. She and her teammates went on to write a formal complaint citing the Title IX violations they were experiencing; later they went on to file a lawsuit to cite the lack of funding in women’s sports compared to men’s, as well as the obvious inequities in their facilities. The lawsuit was settled and small improvements were made, but it was just the start of a lifelong career of standing up and speaking out for women’s rights. She went on to be hired at Michigan as the head coach of the softball team, where she was a coach, a groundskeeper, a secretary, and facilities maintenance person – this all while the men’s teams had full coaching staffs and their own groundskeepers.

Fast forward to today, Coach Hutch retired in 2022 with the most wins as any head coach in the history of Michigan, and at the time, as the winningest softball coach in the history of the sport. She remains an active voice today in calling out inequities and lifting up women around her. We are so proud to have had her as a speaker at our event in 2018 and 2022!

Ways to Learn About Title IX

Our team has put together resources for you to learn more about the history of Title IX, the key players in the fight for justice, and the continued fight for equality happening today.


Rise of the Wahine

50 Years of Title IX: USC Athletics Documentary

ESPN+ Fifty/50 Collection (50th Anniversary Special Feature)


Duffy Law – Importance of Title IX

Women’s Sports Foundation – History of Title IX

NCAA – Origins of Title IX

Hutchins on Title IX and Women’s Equality

Mental Health Awareness Month: Six Benefits of Taking a Break from Your Phone

Six Benefits of Taking a Break from Your Phone

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s talk about a super easy way to take care of yourself: taking a break from your phone! It can be tough when you’re constantly getting messages and notifications, but disconnecting from time to time can be a game-changer. Especially for school and college-age girls who rely on their phones to stay connected with their coaches, friends, and families, it’s important to give ourselves a break. Here are six reasons why:

  1. Focus on cultivating other hobbies: When you’re constantly checking your phone, you may miss out on opportunities to pursue other interests. Taking a break from your phone can help you focus on developing hobbies such as painting, reading, or playing a musical instrument. Engaging in activities you enjoy can boost your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment.
  2. Be less distracted and more productive: It’s no secret that social media can be a major distraction. Constant notifications can pull you away from important tasks and make it hard to concentrate. By taking a break from your phone, you can eliminate this distraction and focus on being more productive. You may find that you’re able to complete tasks more efficiently and with greater focus.
  3. Give your eyes a break from the screen: Staring at a screen for extended periods can cause eye strain, headaches, and other issues. By taking a break from your phone, you can give your eyes a much-needed rest. You may even notice that your eyes feel less tired and dry after a break from screens.
  4. Improve your sleeping habits: Blue light from screens can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. By taking a break from your phone before bedtime, you can improve your sleeping habits. This can lead to better quality sleep, which can improve your overall mood and energy levels.
  5. Be more present in the moment: When you’re constantly on your phone, you may be missing out on the world around you. By taking a break from your phone, you can be more present in the moment and appreciate the world around you. You may find that you’re able to enjoy the beauty of nature or engage in meaningful conversations with others.
  6. Connect with people around you: When you’re always on your phone, you may miss opportunities to connect with those around you. By taking a break from your phone, you can engage more fully with friends and family members. You may find that you’re able to have deeper, more meaningful conversations and create stronger relationships.

It can really make a difference for your mental health. Try it out and see how you feel. Remember, you deserve to take care of yourself, and sometimes that means putting your phone down for a little while.


Especially for young girls, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle of everyday life. Between school, extracurriculars, and social obligations, it can be challenging to find time for yourself. Taking care of yourself is crucial to avoiding burnout along your journey, no matter what you want to pursue. Since today is National Self-Care Day, here are four simple steps you can take right now to practice self-care and improve your overall well being.

Start with the basics

Your body needs fuel to function correctly, so it’s crucial to eat enough food and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Skipping meals or not drinking enough water can leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and irritable. Make sure to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. If you need a physical reminder, carry a refillable water bottle with you to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day.

2. Organize your thoughts

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have a lot going on. Taking the time to organize your thoughts can help you feel more in control and reduce stress. Try making a to-do list or using a planner to keep track of your tasks and assignments. You can also practice journaling to process your thoughts and emotions. Taking a few minutes to reflect on your day and write down your feelings can help you feel more centered and calm.

3. Channel your creativity

Creative activities can be an excellent way to relax and de-stress. Try finding an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s drawing, dancing, collaging, reading, writing, or playing an instrument. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy a creative hobby, and it’s okay to make mistakes or be imperfect. The goal is to take a break from your screens, have fun, and express yourself in a way that feels meaningful and enjoyable to you.

4. Remember, rest is productive

Rest is an essential component of self-care. Your body and mind need time to recharge and recover from the stresses of daily life. Make sure to get enough sleep each night and take breaks throughout the day when you need them. It’s okay to say no to obligations that don’t feel essential, and it’s okay to take time off from activities or work when you need a break. Prioritizing rest can help you feel more energized, focused, and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

You can take small steps to care for yourself each day. Remember, self-care is not selfish, and it’s okay to prioritize your own needs and wellbeing. Take care of yourself, and you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way!


In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting 18 inspiring women who have broken barriers, shattered stereotypes, and left a lasting impact on history. From athletes to activists, scholars to artists, these women have paved the way for future generations and continue to inspire and empower women around the world. While there are countless women who have made significant contributions throughout history, this list showcases a diverse range of women who have left their mark in various fields and industries. Join us in celebrating their accomplishments and legacies!

Babe Didrikson Zaharias: One of the greatest female athletes of the 20th century, Zaharias was a multi-sport star who excelled in basketball, golf, and track and field. She won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Olympics and went on to become a dominant force in women’s golf.

Ida B. Wells: American journalist, activist, and feminist best known for her courageous reporting on lynching in the United States, which exposed the brutality of racial violence and helped to galvanize public support for anti-lynching legislation. Her tireless advocacy for racial and gender equality has made her a crucial figure in the fight for justice and human rights.

Ada Lovelace: English mathematician and writer who is considered to be the first computer programmer for her work on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. She is known for her contributions to the field of computer science and for being an early advocate for the potential of computers to transform society.

Frida Kahlo: Mexican painter known for her self-portraits and representation of the female experience and Mexican culture. She is known for her bold, colorful style and her depiction of pain and suffering, as well as for her activism for social justice and women’s rights.

Renee Richards: American professional tennis player who, in 1977, won a landmark legal battle that allowed her to compete in women’s tournaments and paved the way for future generations of transgender athletes. Richards’ advocacy and activism helped to raise awareness and promote acceptance of transgender individuals in sports and beyond.

Katherine Johnson: American mathematician and NASA scientist who played a pivotal role in the early days of the space program, calculating the trajectories for the first manned space flights. She was also a trailblazer for women and Black people in STEM fields.

Simone de Beauvoir: French writer, philosopher, and feminist who is best known for her groundbreaking work, “The Second Sex,” which challenged traditional gender roles and argued for the equality of women. Her contributions to feminist theory and her advocacy for women’s rights have had a profound impact on the modern feminist movement.

Susan B. Anthony: Prominent suffragist and abolitionist who fought tirelessly for women’s right to vote in the United States. She played a pivotal role in the suffrage movement, co-founding the National Woman Suffrage Association and helping to secure the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Co-founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association with Susan B. Anthony. She played a key role in drafting the Declaration of Sentiments, which called for women’s equality in all areas of life. Her tireless efforts paved the way for future generations of women to achieve greater social and political equality.

Maya Angelou: American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist who is known for her powerful writing on issues like race, gender, and identity. She was also a prolific speaker and performer, using her platform to inspire and uplift audiences around the world.

Marie Curie: Polish-born physicist and chemist who made groundbreaking contributions to the field of radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes in different fields, revolutionizing our understanding of the atomic structure of matter and paving the way for countless scientific advancements.

Amelia Earhart: American aviator and feminist who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She also set numerous aviation records and inspired a generation of women to pursue careers in aviation and other male-dominated fields. Her legacy as a trailblazer and icon of women’s empowerment continues to inspire people around the world.

Wangari Maathai: Kenyan environmental and political activist who was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted over 50 million trees in Kenya and inspired similar efforts around the world.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: American jurist and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who was known for her advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality. She was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and played a pivotal role in shaping legal precedent on issues like reproductive rights and discrimination.

Indira Gandhi: Indian politician who served as the Prime Minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. She is known for her leadership during a period of significant social and economic change in India, as well as for her advocacy for women’s rights and environmental conservation.

Mary Wollstonecraft was a pioneering feminist and writer who is best known for her groundbreaking work, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.” In this seminal text, she argued for the education and social equality of women, laying the foundation for the modern feminist movement and inspiring generations of women to fight for their rights.

Billie Holiday: American jazz singer and songwriter who was one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century. She is known for her unique style, which blended elements of jazz, blues, and pop, as well as for her activism against racial segregation and discrimination.

Sojourner Truth: Born into slavery in the United States, she was a powerful speaker and advocate for abolition and women’s rights in the 19th century. She fought for her own freedom and went on to speak out against injustice and inequality, delivering her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech at the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.

To learn more about Empowering Girls, and to sign up for our event on August 12, 2023 – visit our homepage! This year’s event is FREE – learn more about the event and register for your free ticket here!


International Women’s Day is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of women from all walks of life. This year, #EmbraceEquity is a reminder of the ongoing efforts towards gender equality. In this post, we will highlight some amazing girls and women who are advancing this motto.

@avaspetpalace is a prime example of a girl who is embracing equity. Ava Dorsey, a young entrepreneur, started her business at the age of eight, where she sells handmade pet treats, and her company has since grown in popularity. Through her work, Ava empowers other young girls to pursue their passions and challenge stereotypes about age and gender.

Founder of the Loveland Foundation and the Great Unlearn, @rachel.cargle is an author, entrepreneur, and social justice advocate from Akron, Ohio. Her ventures and collaboration initiatives provide resources and free therapy for Black women and girls, as well as self-paced, donation-based learning opportunities and writing spaces.

Another young woman who has made strides in her field is @thespacegal. Emily Calandrelli is a scientist, writer, and television host who inspires young girls to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). She uses social media to showcase her work and make science more accessible to young girls.

@ajclementine is an Australian runway model and content creator who uses her platform to educate and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. In 2022, she published her memoir, titled “Girl, Transcending: Becoming the Woman I Was Born to Be,” where she gives readers an inside look into her life growing up as a transgender girl.

@flowsgrocery is a Black-owned online grocery & retail store that is entirely supplied by BIPOC-owned brands. Through the business, founder Maritza Pedlar provides affordable and healthy food options to customers nationwide & helps these brands thrive.

EGFL Alumna @ninadavuluri is known for being crowned the first Indian Miss America and Miss New York. She is a public speaker and proud advocate for diversity, gender equality, and STEM education. She also uses her social media platform to promote the inclusion of women of color in the beauty industry.

In the world of sports, @naomiosaka is breaking barriers as the world No. 1 tennis player in Singles, and one of the highest-earning female athletes of all time. In 2020, she was named one of the Sports Illustrated Sportspersons of the Year for her activism during the US Open.

@chloekim is a 22-year-old Olympic snowboarder and two-time Gold medalist, winning her first gold medal at just 17 years old. She is creating a name for herself in business, as well, having recently announced the co-founding of a media and commerce company to portray the stories of women.

In the media industry, @erinandrews and @charissathompson have broken barriers and paved the way for women in sports journalism. Through their sideline reporting for the NFL, they have challenged the gender norms that exist in the field and have become role models for young girls who aspire to work on and off the field.

@sharonsaysso is a former government and law teacher who uses her social media platform to educate her 1M followers about how to spot and avoid misinformation online. She hosts her own podcast and offers shame-free workshops on government for adults.

Young girls everywhere are joining the fight to stop climate change, largely thanks to the work of @gretathunberg. She has been urging elected officials and policymakers around the globe to take immediate action to protect the planet since she was a teen, and continues her work despite facing criticism for her age on the global stage.

@melissawoodhealth is a fitness instructor and wellness expert who promotes body positivity and self-love. Through her work, she encourages women to embrace their bodies and prioritize their mental and physical health.

These girls and women are just a few examples of the many individuals who are working towards embracing equity in their respective fields. They serve as a reminder that gender equality is a continuous effort that requires the involvement of everyone. This International Women’s Day, let us celebrate these women and continue to work towards a more equitable and just world.


Each year, we host our annual Empowering Girls event where we bring in barrier-breaking women to share their stories, encourage attendees to chase their dreams, and teach them how to overcome adversity. Our team spends a considerable amount of time connecting with potential speakers and learning their stories to ensure the message they are sharing is relevant to each of you. We are thrilled to introduce this year’s speaker lineup below! If you are interested in being considered as a speaker for future events, send our team an email at empoweringgirlsforlife@gmail.com. To register for your free ticket, click here.

Rachel Chen – Chicago’s top fashion blogger and digital influencer

Rachel Chen “Vintagedolls” is Chicago’s top fashion blogger & digital influencer. Known for her jetsetter life and penchant for luxury items, Rachel has amassed over 1,000,000 followers on social media since launching her blog in 2015. Based in Chicago but never in one place for too long, Rachel showcases her life and encourages others to live life to the fullest. She is constantly striving to redefine the definition of a “millennial”. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Actuarial Science, Rachel has taken a leap of faith into the digital world. She captivates her audience with her unique, 3-photo color scheme. Rachel’s bright and inviting photos—often with a touch of pink—are the perfect representation of how she views the world. Her photos invoke a sense of wanderlust and adventure while encouraging others to live life to the fullest. Join her on her journey as she continues to navigate life and the world.

Jordyn Bahl – All-American softball player and NCAA Division I National Champion at the University of Oklahoma

What is important to Jordyn Bahl:


* my spiritual health and relationship with the Lord is of my top priorities because this keeps me grounded in my life and I realize that it is ultimately what matters the most. He is the only thing in this world that doesn’t change, so he is my rock. When the time comes for me to meet my creator, nothing in my life will have mattered besides this. He has gifted me amazing people, opportunities, and resources to help me succeed.


* my parents Dave and Emily have always loved my unconditionally, kept me grounded, and made several sacrifices to support me in my dreams and ambitions. Not just in softball, but in having other hobbies, and having an appreciation for the outdoors and God’s beauty on display.

* My 3 brothers, hayden (21), Broden (18), and Bryson (16), have been my best friends and my biggest fans my entire life. As friends have come and gone they have remained, and always had my back. They still see me as the same sister to them that I was when I was 8 years old before my softball journey took off.

*My dog Remi. This 10 month old black lab gives me a glimpse of God’s unconditional love everyday. when I come home after a long day she doesn’t know what kind of day I had, she just knows she loves me and is happy to see me. Sometimes her cuddles are all I need after a long day.


* I have several relatives who have served to defend this country and our freedom. I have the upmost respect not only for those that serve, but also for their families, as they are offering up a piece of their mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, etc. Freedom isn’t free.


* Having a dad who has been a firefighter for 20 years, I never knew anything different as a child. As stated above, I will always have to most respect for those that serve and their families. For all of the missed milestone moments in their children’s life, to missed holidays, thank you for your selfless character.


* Big 12 Conference Season Champions

* Big 12 co-pitcher of the year

* Big 12 freshman of the year

* Big 12 1st team All-American

* NFCA freshman of the year

* NFCA All-American

* Division 1 NCAA National Champions

Kate Drohan – Head Softball Coach, Northwestern University

Head coach Kate Drohan has built the Wildcats into a perennial power, winning three Big Ten Championships while qualifying for three Women’s College World Series appearances alongside her twin sister and associate head coach, Caryl Drohan. Kate Drohan took over the ‘Cats after serving as an assistant under legendary head coach Sharon Drysdale for four seasons.

Drohan led the ‘Cats on an incredible five-year stretch from 2005-09 in which NU compiled a combined record of 215-77, reached the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament four times and became the first private school in NCAA history to advance to the WCWS semifinals in consecutive years (2006-07). Overall under Drohan, NU has made 15 NCAA Tourney appearances and has claimed six NCAA Regional titles. On March 27, 2021, the Drohans became Northwestern softball’s all-time wins leaders with a 15-7 win over Wisconsin for their 641st career win.

Drohan already has cemented her status as one of the best coaches in Big Ten history, becoming the sixth conference coach (including Drysdale) to take a Big Ten schools to the WCWS. At the time, Drohan was one of two B1G coaches to make the final pairing in Oklahoma City.

Drohan led the ‘Cats to her third WCWS appearance and earned her fourth Big Ten Coach of the Year award in the 2022 season, compiling a 45-13 record in the process. Northwestern went 19-4 in conference play before sweeping the Evanston Regional and defeating Arizona St. in the Tempe Super Regional to advance to the WCWS. Under Drohan’s tutelage, eight Wildcats earned All-Big Ten awards, with Rachel Lewis named Player of the Year and Danielle Williams unanimous Pitcher of the Year.

In Drohan’s 20th season at the helm of Northwestern softball in 2021, the Wildcats earned a third place finish in the Big Ten and secured a berth in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, marking the 14th in the Drohan era as well as Northwestern’s sixth over the last seven tournaments.

Ellie Cooper – Certified Mental Performance Coach, Director of Player Performance, Florida State University Softball

Currently, Ellie Cooper is the Director of Player Performance for the Florida State Softball Program. She was born in New Zealand and grew up in St. Louis Missouri. She played her collegiate softball career as a second basemen at Florida State University from 2014-2017. In her time at Florida State she was fortunate to be the captain and a 4 time ACC Champion; she also appeared in 4 super regionals and made it to the Women’s College World Series twice. In 2018, she joined the Coaching staff at FSU as the student assistant coach where she was coaching first base when they won the National Championship. Cooper also competed for the New Zealand National team in 6 world championships where she was the Captain for my last two World Championship competitions.

In her time playing and coaching she realized how important the mental side of the game and life was, which led her to be inspired to become a mental performance coach. Cooper is now a certified mental performance coach and the Owner of Ellie Cooper Elite Performance where she does one-on-one coaching and group consulting relating to mastering mental performance in life and in sports. Lastly, she is the Lead Facilitator for the Athletes Unlimited Professional softball league.

Julianne Sitch – Head Men’s Soccer Coach at UChicago, former pro women’s soccer player for Sky Blue FC

Julianne Sitch was hired as UChicago’s head men’s soccer coach in April 2022.

In Sitch’s debut campaign in 2022, the Maroons captured their first NCAA Division III championship in program history by defeating Williams College 2-0 in the national title match. UChicago posted a 22-0-1 mark to set a new school record for wins in a season and its .978 winning percentage led the nation. The Maroons also won the University Athletic Association title with a 6-0-1 record. The defense recorded 13 shutouts while only allowing 11 goals. Only one opponent all year scored more than one goal versus the Maroons. UChicago trailed for only 64 minutes all season out of 2,090 minutes played.

The 2022 squad’s accolades included one All-American (Richard Gillespie), five All-Region selections and seven All-UAA honorees. Sitch and her assistants were named the United Soccer Coaches’ National Coaching Staff of the Year, USC Region VIII Coaching Staff of the Year and UAA Coaching Staff of the Year.

On the international level, Sitch worked with the U.S. Soccer Youth National Team (2019-20). She was the Assistant Coach for the Under-16 Girls National Team (GNT), which took first place in the UEFA Women’s International Development Tournament in Portugal.

A native of Oswego, Ill., Sitch was Illinois Gatorade Women’s High School Soccer Player of the Year in 2002. She went on to compile record-setting numbers at DePaul University. Sitch broke the school’s career records in points (90), goals (32) and assists (26). Her collegiate honors included Second Team NSCAA All-American (2003), Conference USA Player of the Year (2003) and First Team All-Big East (2005). She earned her bachelor’s degree from DePaul in Fitness Management & Physical Education in 2007.

Sitch played for the Region II Olympic Development Program, the Under-19 U.S. National Team, and the Under-21 U.S. National Team. She was part of the U-21 national team that won the Nordic Cup in 2004.

As a professional soccer player, Sitch was drafted by Sky Blue FC of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in 2009. The team went on to win the national championship in that inaugural season. Domestically, she played professionally for the Chicago Red Stars, Western New York Flash and Atlanta Beat. Sitch played on the international stage for Melbourne Victory in Australia, as well as Hammarby IF and Balinge IF in Sweden.

Cory Huminsky – Pediatric lung cancer survivor, Cancer Climber member who has scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro

Cory Huminsky’s life took on a new path in 2001 at age eleven when she was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric lung cancer known as carcinoid cancer. She spent about two years travelling back and forth to the hospital for scans, tests, and surgeries until she was discharged as surgically cured. Fast forward five years where Cory is back in the hospital for extreme abdominal cramping, weight loss, and anemia, where she is diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease known as ulcerative colitis. Cory had fought illness before, and she was not going to let another diagnosis stop her from reaching her goals.

Cory went on to win Colorado’s softball high school state championship her senior year and earned the Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year Award. She received a full ride athletic scholarship to play softball for the University of Pittsburgh, where 12 years later she still holds the program’s career and single season ERA records. For three years she ranked in the Top 100 of NCAA D1 pitchers for ERA, she helped Pitt win earn their first ever votes in the NFCA Top 25 Poll, she was a two-year team captain, and a Big East All-Conference selection.

In 2011, Cory found a love for fundraising and began raising money for cancer programs leading her to find Cancer Climber. She has now climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and trekked to Mt. Everest Base Camp with fellow cancer survivor and mountaineer, Sean Swarner. Never once letting her previous lung cancer or current autoimmune illness stop her from reaching new heights. Cory left her job to start coaching as a full time fastpitch pitching instructor, working daily to help change the lives of young women both on and off the softball field. She is known as a bright light who shares her story in order to empower young women to reach for the sky and never let anything stop them from achieving their dreams.

(Emcee) Sydney Supple – Division 1 softball player at Northwestern University

Supple is a Division I student-athlete at Northwestern University where she plays softball. She currently is a freelance writer for CBS Sports and hosts the podcast “From the Players”.


Recognizing Black History Month is equally as important as understanding the history of the celebration, and the notable woman who have shaped the world we live in today. There are several organizations noted throughout this blog post; to support the mentioned organizations, click on their links below.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation (The King Foundation)

National Association of Colored Women’s Club

The History of Black History Month as a nationally recognized celebration

1915 – Dr. Carter G. Woodson (historian) founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History – now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

1926 – Dr. Woodson proclaimed the first Negro History Week in February – the week included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (signed the Emancipation Proclamation and was a key figure in the abolition of slavery) and Frederick Douglass (former slave who taught himself to read and write and became a renowned activist for enslaved African Americans).

1975/1976 – President Ford made a speech encouraging all Americans to recognize the important contributions made to the life of the United States and the culture of its citizens. The celebration officially changed from Black History Week to Black History Month.

1986 – Congress passed Public Law 99-244 which designated February 1986 as National Black History Month. This included calling on the President to encourage the American people to celebrate with ceremonies and activities, and set the stage for celebrations moving forward.

1996 – President Bill Clinton issued Presidential Proclamation 6863 for “National African American History Month”; that same year, the Senate passed Senate Resolution 229 commemorating Black History Month.

Credit: Library of Congress

Notable African Americans that shaped the identity and culture of the United States

Ida B. Wells (1862 – 1931) – Wells was best known for her fearless documentation of the gruesome lynching of African Americans. This consistently put her life at risk. She was involved in starting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and had the opportunity to tour England and speak about women’s suffrage issues and civil rights.

Angela Davis (1944 – Present) – Davis was an activist in the late 1960s who joined the Communist Party and eventually ran as a vice-presidential candidate in the 1980s. She was an affiliate of the Black Panthers organization, in which she was arrested but acquitted on charges after a shootout in a courtroom. She has been an avid political activist throughout her illustrious career.

Fannie Barrier Williams (1855 – 1944) – Williams was an educator and activist. She is widely known for her speech in 1893 at the World’s Colombian Exchange in Chicago, IL. She also helped to found the following organizations: National League of Colored Women, National Association of Colored Women, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Earlene Brown (1935 – 1983) – the first US woman to earn an Olympic medal in shot put. Brown was a discus and shot thrower who set the American record at the 1956 Olympics and won bronze at the 1964 games.

Shirley Chisholm (1924 – 2005) – Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1969 (and served seven consecutive terms from that point forward). She was also the first woman and the first African American to seek the nomination for President as a democratic candidate.

Althea Gibson (1927-2003) – was the first Black player of any gender to compete in a US national tennis competition. Growing up in Harlem, she started playing tennis at the age of 14 and the very next year won her first tournament.

Coretta Scott King (1927 – 2006) – King was the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an avid activist for racial equality. After his death, she continued perpetuating his legacy and founded the MLK Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. She is also an author of several books.

Emma Azalia Smith Hackley (1867 – 1922) – Hackley is a woman of many talents, including but not limited to piano, violin, opera (which she studied in Paris), elementary school teacher, and more. She co-founded the Colored Women’s League and was an avid voice for the fight against discrimination.

Ella Fitzgerald (1917 – 1996) – Known for her incredible singing talents in the 20th century, she was a 13 time Grammy award winner (despite being shut out of major performance venues due to her race), and sold over 40 million albums.

Alice Coachman (1923 – 2014) – became the first Black woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. Though she was confronted with discrimination in athletics on account of both her gender and the color of her skin, she still persevered.

Harriet Tubman (1820 – 1913) – One of the most renowned abolitionists, Tubman escaped slavery in 1849 and helped other enslaved people by way of the Underground Railroad. It is noted that at one point in time, there was a bounty for her capture set at $40,000 (approx. $1.5 million today).

Oprah Winfrey (1954 – Present): Oprah is a well-known entrepreneur and activist, and the first Black billionaire. She hosted her own show for more than 20 years and eventually expanded to a TV network and her own magazine. She is an avid supporter of a leadership academy for girls in South Africa, and supported the election of America’s first Black President, Barack Obama.


National Girls and Women in Sports Day is celebrated today. It serves as a symbol of the continuous fight for equality in sports each day. It was recognized as a holiday in 1987 in honor of Flo Hyman, an Olympic volleyball player, who was considered the best to ever do it, all while speaking up on behalf of women everywhere for equal access and representation in all sports.

While gender stereotypes still exist in sports today, huge strides have been made by exceptional girls and women around the world to break down those barriers and even the playing field. The enactment of the civil rights law, Title IX, was an important step toward legal backing of equal opportunity for women to participate in sports at federally funded institutions. Today, we are highlighting just a few of those barrier-breaking women and their accomplishments in sports.

Missy Franklin – five-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer

Missy Franklin made history in several categories across college, professional, and Olympic swimming; she notably turned down prize money during her college years to  continue to perform as a collegiate athlete.

Megan Rapinoe – Professional Soccer Player and Social Justice Advocate

Megan Rapinoe is a three-time Olympic gold medalist for women’s soccer, a National Champion, and a fierce advocate for equal pay for women in professional sports, racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and gender equity.

Helene Britton – owner, St. Louis Cardinals MLB team

Helene became the first female owner of a major league baseball team (the St.Louis Cardinals) on March 28, 1911.

Sarah Thomas – NFL Official

Sarah Thomas made history as the first woman hired as an NFL official in 2015. She has since made history again as the first woman to ref an on-field playoff game for the NFL.

Alyssa Nakken – Coach, San Francisco 49ers MLB team

Alyssa Nakken became the first female on-field coach for an MLB team in 2021, making history as the first woman to hold this position.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee – Heptathlon and Long Jump Track and Field Athlete

Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and an advocate for “Athletes for Hope” which encourages athletes to make a difference in the world.

Kim Ng – General Manager, Miami Marlins MLB team

Kim Ng was hired as the General Manager of the Miami Marlins in 2020, making history as the first woman to hold a GM position in MLB.

Beth Mowins – the first woman to call an NFL game

Beth Mowins made history as the first woman to call a televised National Football League game. Today she covers a multitude of sports as a broadcaster and has done so throughout her decorated career.

Kathryn Smith – Buffalo Bills Special Teams coach

Kathryn Smith made history in 2016 when she was hired by the Buffalo Bills as a full-time quality control special teams coach.

Pat Summitt – Legendary Tennessee Vols Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Pat Summitt made history as the winningest basketball coach of all time (2016) of the UT Women’s Basketball team. She passed away due to Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

Billie Jean King – record-setting Tennis player, equal pay and LGBTQ+ advocate

Billie Jean King is a storied tennis athlete with 20 Wimbledon championships. More than that, she was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work in advocating for equal pay for female athletes and for her work in advocating for the LGBTQ+ community.

Jennie Finch – Team USA Softball Olympic Pitcher

Jennie Finch is a historic figure in the game of softball, with an NCAA record of 60 consecutive wins at the University of Arizona. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and an advocate for young girls in sports through her two-day skills camps. Jennie is also an EGFL alumna, who joined us as a keynote speaker for our 1st Annual Empowering Girls event!

Mia Hamm – U.S. Women’s Soccer Leading Scorer

Mia Hamm started with the U.S. National team at the age of 15 (the youngest player to ever do so). She won U.S. Women’s Athlete of the Year five times  and was the first woman inducted into the World Hall of Fame.

Dot Richardson – youngest softball player in the ASA Women’s Major Fastpitch National Championships

Dot Richardson made history at 13 years old as the youngest player in the ASA Women’s Major Fastpitch National Championships. She was awarded NCAA Player of the Decade in the 1980s; post-softball, she worked as an orthopedic surgeon.

Mo’ne Davis – Little League Baseball shutout pitcher

Mo’ne Davis was the first girl to pitch a shutout and win a game in the Little League World Series in 2014.

Simone Biles – most decorated U.S. Gymnastics athlete in history

Simone Biles has 25 Championship medals, with 19 of them being Gold medals. She has two moves named after her (Biles I, Biles II) that have only ever been landed by her.

Jessica Mendoza – U.S. Olympic medalist in softball, ESPN broadcaster

Jessica Mendoza won a Gold and Silver medal in the Olympics as a softball player for the U.S. In 2020, she became the first woman to be a game analyst for the MLB World Series, as well as the first woman to serve as an ESPN game analyst for MLB on national TV. Jessica is also an EGFL alumna!

Lia Thomas – the first transgender NCAA Division 1 Champion swimmer

Lia Thomas has been a voice for transgender athletes after winning the NCAA Division I National Swimming Championship (500-yard freestyle) for Penn State University.

There is not enough room on this post to highlight all of the incredible women who have made a lasting impact on the future of girls and women in sports. And while great strides have been made, there is always more to be done. Be sure to check out our social media pages for more National Girls and Women in Sports Day content!






Confession: the other day, I was at Target grabbing a few things, and happened to leave my phone in the car. My plan was to be in and out of the store in 15-20 minutes because I had somewhere else I needed to get to. Five minutes into my trip, I found myself reaching in my pocket for my phone – for no good reason other than to likely scroll through something or check for a text message or Snapchat. I was EMBARASSED! I wondered how many times would I have done that absentmindedly had I not caught myself doing it. So it got me thinking – how do I detach from my cell phone? Don’t get me wrong, cell phones bring a ton of value… we have the world at our fingertips! But setting limits and boundaries is key, and according to experts, vital to our wellbeing, both cognitively and emotionally.

The Research

Research done by Dr. Dan Kaufer, MD, UNC Health neurologist, found that the use of smartphones impairs cognition in humans. In simple terms, this means that our ability to absorb and use the knowledge received through thought, experiences, and senses is thwarted by the consistent use of smartphones. He says that with information available at the tip of our fingers, we are less likely to connect the dots and use cognition to remember information. By relying on screens for information, we reduce information processing in our brains that conventional methods of learning rely on. Note that he says this logic applies not only to smartphones, but to TV screens and computers as well.

The impact doesn’t stop at cognitive function; it also has ripple effects on social and emotional health in people, from reduced patience to difficulty with interpersonal relationships.

“If you give people the ability to store information remotely, outside of their brain, they become more dependent on that, which actually can have a negative effect on people’s memory,” Dr. Kaufer said. “Because they become too dependent on that external aid, they lose that skill of being able to remember things as freshly as they could, absent that external aid.” – Dr. Kaufer

Limiting Screen Time

Although the research can be overwhelming, there are small ways that we can reduce our dependency on our smartphones and devices by making little changes. One change to make is using the time limit feature on apps; this feature allows you to set a time limit for yourself on any app – once the time is up, it grays out the app until you manually adjust the time again for that app. This is an effective way to monitor the time spent on apps that you may not even realize you are doing. Another way to limit screen time is to keep smartphones or computers at a distance during times of the day when they could be a distraction. This could be during meal time, during workouts, during homework or work time, and even chores. By putting your device on a charger or in a different room forces you to focus on the task at hand and not get distracted by aimless screen time.

With all of this in mind, it is widely understood that smartphones and devices are incredibly useful, and when used in a limited capacity, provide entertainment and instant access to useful information.

The Challenge

Starting today (the day you read this!), set your phone in a different room for thirty minutes a day. Make a point to do something productive without your phone near you for those thirty minutes – it could be walking your dog, doing chores, working, studying, cleaning, reading, or just spending time with others. It’s tough – our team is trying this challenge now and has said the first few days are the hardest!

Let us know what you think by sending us an email at empoweringgirlsforlife@gmail.com.