The Ripple Effect: Featuring the Sports Bra Project
Welcome to a new blog series we’re calling “The Ripple Effect”! This series will feature individuals and organizations who are making waves in their communities near and far. Every step towards equality in sports, no matter how big or small, can create a ripple effect that changes hearts, minds, and systems.
We’re so excited to feature this first game changer who has been a long time supporter of IDA. The Sports Bra Project was founded by Sarah Dwyer-Shick, who was a 15-year NCAA soccer coach and former three sport athlete growing. Her experiences working in the game both in the US and internationally inspired her to focus her career on youth development and increasing access to sports for all women and girls. Since its inception, the Sports Bra Project has donated over 4,000 sports bras to 31 organizations across 26 countries. Wow.
"Through the opportunity to travel and experience soccer in different communities it became clear that many girls and women are still faced with obstacles to sports participation. Cultural expectations, financial constraints and logistical concerns all play a role and to have the lack of a basic piece of equipment, a sports bra, be another potential barrier struck me as ridiculous, and something that needed to be addressed." – via thesportsbraproject.org
They cite four key reasons they have chosen the sports bra as a focus for their support of youth in sports.
- Expense For many, a sports bra is a luxury.
- Limited availability Bras are unavailable, or just out of reach.
- Societal expectations For many girls, household comes first.
- Opportunity gaps Sports for boys and men takes priority.
By increasing access to an essential piece of apparel, SBP is increasing access and opportunity to participate in sports, which we all know can have a huge impact on mental health, physical health, and provide countless opportunities to build essential life skills.
Ok, back to SBP. We were first introduced to Sarah in 2019 during Equal Playing Field’s Festival of Football in Lyon, France. Sarah ran a sports bra drive at the event and we’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch ever since. And now we’re super excited to be able to support SBP in our small way, through the release of our Title IX 50th Anniversary Commemorative Jersey!
The jersey celebrates the trailblazers and the progress made for women and girls in sports in the US these last 50 years and it’s also a call to action to continue to push for change these next 50 years! IDA will also be donating 50% of profits directly to the Sports Bra Project to support their work in reducing the participation gap of women and girls in sports worldwide.
“As a "Title IX" baby I grew up wearing improperly fitting gear for much of my life. Now as a coach, 50 years after Title IX passed, it is still hard to find coaching gear and equipment designed for women. We’re thrilled to work with IDA on this kit that both celebrates how far we have come, and the work that still needs to be done to attain equity in all areas of sports." - Sarah Dwyer-Shick, Sports Bra Project Founder
If you’re interested in getting involved with the Sports Bra Project directly, they accept donations and also encourage supporters to host a sports bra drive in their local communities. They work with partners to distribute bras at the local level, and