As a woman competing in the world of sports, I have had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the tremendous strength, skill and determination that female athletes bring to the field. Yet, we continue to face numerous challenges and obstacles. We all need to come together to support and uplift women in sports, empowering them to overcome the challenges and shatter the glass ceilings that persist in athletics.

My own journey as an athlete, from youth sports in the Baltimore area to my collegiate career at Loyola, has shown me the power of lifting each other up. When I think back about the challenges I have faced, the doubts I have overcome, and the victories I have celebrated, I am reminded of all the support from my family, teammates, coaches and fans. Their encouragement and belief in me have played a vital role in my growth and success.

But I can’t ignore the fact that not all women athletes have been as fortunate as me. Women athletes have faced challenges throughout history, many of which persist today. These challenges include unequal pay and funding, gender bias and stereotypes, and limited visibility in sports. Athletes Unlimited leads by example, offering a professional platform for female players and valuing their voices. By investing in women, the league breaks barriers and inspires positive changes.

The fight for equality is not over yet. We must keep pushing for change, speaking up and insisting that women athletes get the respect and support they deserve.

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We can find inspiration from women such as those on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. I admire the remarkable careers of those champion athletes and the example they’ve set. Despite facing unfair treatment and unequal pay compared to their male counterparts, they used their platform to push for equality, setting a standard for future generations. This case not only highlighted the inequity in sports but also drew attention to the issue of unequal pay in various workplaces.

To empower women athletes, sports organizations, leagues, teams and players can act to ensure equal pay and funding for female athletes. We deserve financial support just as much as our male counterparts. Increasing media coverage and exposure for women’s sports is essential to boost visibility and popularity, helping to challenge gender stereotypes and inspire more girls to participate in sports.

Athletes Unlimited has shown its commitment to empowering its athletes by providing them with opportunities, such as having their games featured on national television networks like ESPN. Such exposure allows our skills and achievements to reach a broader audience and can help inspire girls watching to participate in sports.

Women's sports must always stand for equality and empowerment of their athletes, says Sam Fiedler, a midfielder with the Athletes United women’s lacrosse league. (Courtesy of Athletes United)

Athletes Unlimited is the only professional lacrosse league for women and offers a platform for showcasing our talents at the highest level. As a player-led organization, it is leading the way in bringing equality to pro sports. The organization believes in empowering female athletes and giving us a chance to show our skills at a professional level, and I’m extremely proud to be a part of it.

Supporting women in sports is not just about what happens on the field. It sends a powerful message to girls worldwide, encouraging them to pursue their dreams. By cheering on and backing female athletes, we inspire the next generation of leaders and champions.

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But there is still much to be done to achieve gender equality in sports. We must challenge stereotypes, remove barriers and ensure equal opportunities for women. Embracing diversity is crucial, making every female athlete feel welcome and valued.

As we celebrate progress, let’s continue fighting for change, amplifying the voices and stories of female athletes. Together, we can create a future where women in sports are celebrated, empowered and given the opportunities they deserve, benefiting us all.

Sam Fiedler plays for Athletes United in its new women’s lacrosse league, operating in the Baltimore area. She lives in Reisterstown.

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