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Gender Equality in Sports Looks Promising

All Nippon Airways (ANA), the largest passenger airline in Japan, serves as the sponsor for the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s first major tournament of the season, ANA Inspiration. At the same time, the third annual ANA Inspiring Women in Sports conference will take place at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California on March 27th. The conference features a variety of speakers.

Although not all the speakers are athletes, each woman holds a diverse background in women’s empowerment and advocacy.

Actress Ashley Judd will deliver the keynote address, which focuses on humanitarian efforts, diversity in the workplace, and creating change. Judd will also speak in a panel alongside FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and two-time FIFA player of the year Carli Lloyd; CEO and founder of Ellevest Sallie Krawcheck; Olympic gold medalists and twin sisters Jocelyne Lamourex-Davidson and Monique Lamourex-Morando; and Muslim-American Olympic bronze medalist fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Judd serves as a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA and the Global Ambassador for Population Services International. She is also involved with several other organizations including the International Center for Research on Women, Apne Aap Worldwide, Demand Abolition, and the Women’s Media Center Speech Project. She is passionate about maternal health, family planning, STD/HIV prevention, and gender equality.

Sallie Krawcheck is the chair of Ellevate Network and the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund. She’s very active on LinkedIn and writes several articles about issues in the workplace. For instance, she shared how she was “bullied out” of Merrill Lynch and learned that men with daughters are less likely to see women as inferior in the business world.

Jocelyne Lamourex-Davidson was part of the US Women’s Hockey Team that nearly boycotted the world championship for unfair compensation in comparison to male hockey players. She strongly supports breaking barriers in the sports world, as her Twitter post for International Women’s Day indicates.

Monique Lamourex-Morando competed on the hockey team alongside her twin sister and shares the same passion for equality.

The hockey players also have a business venture called Lamourex Hockey. The Lamourex Hockey team provides a space for young hockey players to develop skills and mentoring, with camps for athletes of all skill levels. The program is open to both girls and boys, so it provides key opportunities to empower future female hockey players and establish equality for both genders.

Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first Muslim woman wearing a hijab to compete for the US in the Olympics. Muhammad serves on the US Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sport Initiative and has her own fashion brand, Louella by Ibtihaj Muhammad. She will share her athletic journey at the conference, as she stated in a Twitter post. Muhammad currently speaks at several events and has empowered young girls through her groundbreaking efforts.

“And there’s a misconception that Muslim women are forced to wear hijab and that we can’t be in sports. I’m here to challenge those misconceptions,” Muhammad told Beliefnet.

Each woman, whether they play a sport, run a business, or both, will bring a unique perspective on equality that will inspire women involved in sports.

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