As I sat down in my seat, I was just amazed by how many girls supported the same issue I care so deeply about. Knowing that I was surrounded by girls that faced similar challenges and struggles while they pursued sports made me feel so comfortable and empowered to make change. Within a couple of minutes, the panel started, and this was one very accomplished, well known panel, that included Charlotte Flair from the WWE and Swin Cash, a former WNBA all star. The panel started discussing how sports have had an impact on their overall growth and development, and why it is such an important thing for any girl to have in their life regardless of any factor, because there is always a sport that one can do.
For me, hearing everyone’s story was just amazing.
I had no idea that they went through similar struggles that I go through on what seems like a daily basis, issues such as body image, gender bias, and finding yourself.
After this panel, we broke out into groups where there was very stimulating discussion about everyone’s experiences, and how they wanted their sport’s experiences to be better.
However, everyone agreed that strides needed to be taken to get more girls involved in sports, and to keep programs going so that girls don’t end up quitting come middle and high school. Other issues addressed were better uniforms, co-ed teams, body image campaigns, and more funding for sports programs so that they don’t die out, and so the sports that girls like can continue. There needs to be education for the opposite gender as well, so that they don’t judge girls who play sports, and so everyone can do what they want and not be self conscious about their hopes and dreams concerning sports.
This experience overall is one that I recommend highly. It was inspiring and spoke volumes about women’s struggles and efforts to come to even this point, and really highlighted what our generation needs to do to keep making strides in the right direction.
By: Sydney Scirica, Girl Up Pennsylvania Coalition member
Sports have had an incredibly huge and positive impact on my life so I’m so excited for Sports for a Purpose and the Girl Up Pennsylvania coalition to also get involved. I think it’s amazing that the WWE is partnering with Girl Up for Sports for a Purpose. They have a huge platform and they’re really using it for something that will be able to inspire so many girls. This weekend really made me realize how strong WWE woman superstars are and it’s really inspiring!
By: Sienna, Girl Up Club President at Walter Panas High School, Cortlandt Manor, NY
As someone who is new to the Girl Up movement, it was really impressive to see girls my age start such provocative conversations about girls in sports. I don’t play a sport, but it felt great to be part of a team that was so eager to make a change for girls everywhere. What began as a conversation about sports for a purpose evolved into a moving discussion about body positivity, female representation, and gender biases on and off the field. I was amazed.
By: Sisters Shamara and Shamare Yearwood (college students at GW and Columbia)
Wrestling has played a huge role in our childhood. Lita was involved in the first match we ever saw, and we were amazed by her athleticism, strength, and charisma. Thereafter, our love for wrestling—particularly women’s wrestling—grew exponentially over the years.
Living in the Caribbean for all our lives, we never had the opportunity to attend any WWE events, so, we jumped at the chance to be at Evolution. It felt surreal that our first experience at a WWE show would not only be at a PPV but an all-women’s one at that. Although both of us were swamped with midterms and assignments, we sacrificed the time to see this historic event. In fact, Shamere took a 4+ hour bus drive that weekend from DC to New York just to attend. There was no way she’d miss an opportunity like this!
It was definitely worth it, because Evolution exceeded our expectations. The crowd was phenomenal and every match on the card delivered with some matches already cementing themselves as classics. We are so grateful that we were able to see Lita wrestle live—it was most definitely a full circle moment. Furthermore, Charlotte vs Becky was a match for the ages and is undoubtedly one of the best (if not THE best) matches of the year, regardless of gender. This also goes to show that the women should have more types of matches that they weren’t allowed to in the past: TLCs, Iron Woman matches, Elimination Chambers, Hell in a Cell matches, and the like. The crowd was going crazy during that Last Woman Standing match. In fact, we both lost our voices from cheering so much, not only for this match, but all the other amazing matches on the card.
The most special part about being at Evolution was seeing and feeling the passion that the women from all eras have for this business. Over all the years of watching WWE, we have grown immense respect for every woman to ever lace up their boots and enter a WWE ring.
The moment at the end where all the women stood on the stage was something we were so happy to see live. The women of WWE have become almost like sisters to us. Also, the genuine reactions and gratefulness of the women during interviews and on social media during and after the event was so moving. Seeing Alicia Fox cry merely because she got to wrestle two Hall-of-Famers made us shed a few tears of our own.
All in all, we want to thank the women of WWE for fighting for a moment like this. We would like them to know how proud we are of them. It would be remiss of us if we also did not to say a heartfelt thank you to WWE for finally giving the women this chance and for allowing us to witness it. This event will surely be a moment that we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives. Now we just await the day that the women will get to main event WrestleMania! If this PPV, particularly the Last Woman Standing match, didn’t show that they can do that and blow it out of the water, I don’t know what will.
Riya Goel is a Girl Up Club Leader and 2019-2020 Teen Advisor