FIBA - Women’s basketball supports International Women’s Day
GENEVA - The global stars of women’s basketball have once again expressed their support for International Women’s Day.
Celebrated for over 100 years, the event is now even a national holiday in several countries around the world, with the emphasis of the campaign focused around the concept of thinking globally and acting locally when it comes to ensuring the future for women is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.
Team USA gold medallist Angel McCoughtry is one of the most recognisable faces in women’s basketball, starring on both sides of the Atlantic through her stellar performances with the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA and with Fenerbahce in the EuroLeague Women.
The 26-year-old, who is pursuing a duel career through her music and is now just as likely to be found on itunes as well as on rosters at major basketball tournaments, threw her weight behind the campaign.
"Women have a long history of dedication and hard work for equality in this world," said McCoughtry.
"In sports, women work hard to prove their equality each and every day and we saw this last year at the Olympic Games.
"I was proud since it was especially good for American women as we won more gold medals than most countries!
"And besides, what would the world be like without all of us beautiful women?” added the forward.
Kristen Mann has also stepped out in the WNBA, and is currently playing with French League leaders Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration. She is also a woman who is striving for success in two distinct careers.
Not only does she tread the hardwood, she is also a member of the band 'Sapphica' and also voiced her support of the event, taking time to appreciate those who blazed a trail to allow her to become a professional sportswoman.
"I guess first and foremost, it should be a holiday worldwide, so we can all celebrate and appreciate women together," said Mann.
"Sports-wise it's good to recognise and appreciate all the pioneers for women's sports, who helped pave the way to make a lot of our dreams come true.
"Overall, I think women need to support women more in general.
"It happens too often that women are tearing other women down, bad mouthing, hating, criticising each other.
"I'd like to see more womanhood and more encouragement amongst ourselves, because we already know it’s a man's world so it'd be nice to stick together more.
"I think the true feminist in me just came out!" said Mann with a smile.
Meanwhile, EuroBasket Women 2013 hosts France are pulling out all the stops to commemorate the occasion by choosing today to launch their 'Femmes sur tous les terrains' ('Women in all fields') initiative.
Using the tournament as a stimulus, French basketball authorities and partner organisations will be encouraging women's personal development and fulfilment in sport, through sport and beyond sport.
The objective is to recognise women who contribute to the development of basketball and use it as a leverage for their personal development.
Part of the project will see the introduction of a series of awards moving forward to recognise those who are major contributors.
French Basketball Federation (FFBB) President Jean-Pierre Siutat used the launch to underline his pride at what has already been achieved.
"The role of women has always been prominent in the landscape of French basketball," he said.
"We are the first team sport with as many as 181,167 licensed female members (37.36%), and we are regularly cited as an example for our actions.
"International Women's Day has always given the FFBB an opportunity to showcase our players, our technicians, and our leaders."