A non-profit organization aims to increase women’s participation in sports by distributing sports bras to girls and women in different countries all over the world.
It started when Sarah Dwyer-Shick, the founder of The Sports Bra Project, visited Africa with a “small bundle of sports bras” for young Namibian girls.
However, even older players wanted the gifts.
It came to her knowledge that a lot of the members of the Namibian National Women’s soccer team never had a sports bra.
She was surprised with this discovery, that something as simple as a sports bra can be a “potential barrier to sports participation” for women, Dwyer-Shick told the Guardian Australia.
The project began in the “grassroots,” she said, to “meet a need” and “directly support athletes.”
The project is about making sports “more accessible to a population that still faces barriers to playing,” Dwyer-Shick explained.
The organization has already donated in 16 countries, 21 organizations, and still growing.
The Issue is not so Simple
The issue on the lack of sports bra might sound simplistic to some.
However, it is not the case for many.
According to the Sports Bra Project, in areas where resources are limited, basic needs like food and water come first over sports equipment such as a sports bra.
“The amount of money” for buying a sports bra could be enough to feed an “entire family for three days,” Jordan Palmer, a Volunteer in Ghana said.
Also, due to cultural expectations, programs providing opportunities to play were geared more towards male athletes.
According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, many girls by the age of 14 drops out of sports, twice than the rate for boys.
After 25 years of research, they found out the reasons for this gap, and one of them is the lack of monetary support for women in sports.
Donated sports equipment “can often end up being prioritised” to sports programs for boys and men, Dwyer-Schick said, as per the Guardian.
However, a sports bra is not something that can be taken from women.
“We know it’ll go to girls and women,” she added.