Speaking at the closing session of the SIGA Summit on Female Leadership, futurist Lynn Casey, CEO & Founder of Shine Scout, discussed how a convergence of events will lead to significant increases in female representation in leading roles in sports.
“We stand at a portal moment, we stand at a moment of great change,” Casey said.
“It’s like 100 year storm where there’s a convergence of elements that come together at the same time and make big change. The first of these is the maturity coming of age of Gen. Z. This is a cohort, a generation that has a bigger, stronger social agenda than any generation we have seen before.
The second event that happened that converged was the murder of George Floyd. It became a flashpoint about equity and social justice.
And the third, obviously, was COVID-19 with a pandemic where we spent two years in serious reflection and inquiry, trying to figure out what is this world that we’ve created for ourselves, women most of all.
And we saw what happened when we came out of this. We had a new agenda. We had a new purpose. And most importantly, we had a new urgency to do better and be better now”.
Casey also discussed the importance of women’s buying decisions in driving this change: “There’s a sense of what are the values of the company, who are they supporting? How did they hire? What do they stand for?”
She went on to explain the crucial role that sports play in society, saying, “Sports serves as an allegory for how we want life to be. A place where we can cry together, we can strive together, we can console each other, and we can cheer for each other.”
Lynn Casey shared her experience working on a project with a sports technology platform that had developed an online training program for youth sports. She found that many parents, coaches, and children participate in youth sports to develop character and perseverance, viewing sports as a pillar of education.
“A very large sports technology platform came to me and said they had invented an online training program for youth sports and they wanted to see what the messaging should be and if it was effective. It was a fascinating project.
I had no idea what I was going to unpack, and I learned a lot. There’s an estimate as of last year, according to the Aspen Institute, that up to 60% of young people under the age of 17 in the USA participate in youth sports. That’s a lot of people. I got to ask the parents and the kids and the coaches, why, why do this? So much time, so much money. What is the value?
I expected to hear parents saying, you know, it’s something for them to do in the afternoon, mentioning scholarships… I heard none of these things. I had parents refer to sports as the third parent. They’ve leaned on sports as a wise counsel to help them form character, to help teach perseverance”.
Based on these converging events, Casey believes that the game of inches in female sports participation will become a game of yards. “We’ve also seen a rise from these women in entrepreneurship. Last year, more new business applications were filed by women than any year prior. And that is going to continue,” she said.
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