The Quest for Equity and Equality in Women’s Sports

President-elect Brandi Boatner remembers Beverly Wettenstein as “a beloved member of NYWICI, and her personal mission and message was to celebrate women every day.” Beverly, an accomplished journalist, author, advocate, historian, and corporate communications executive, was revered for her relatable, engaging coverage of women’s issues.

This year’s Beverly Wettenstein Series Speaker discussed the ongoing quest for equity and equality in women’s sports.

EMCEE, Lana Zak, a CBS News Anchor, and an award-winning journalist, opened the event by discussing women’s progress in sports. Lana’s admiration for Caitlin Clark, the record-breaking college basketball sensation, underscored the profound impact of women in sports.


Our first conversation featured Moira Forbes, Executive VP and Publisher of Forbes, alongside Jen Mathews, VP of Brand Strategy at FanDuel. Jen was applauded for her innovative brand strategy, specifically for attracting women to sports betting. When asked about her approach, she said that targeting sports fans as a whole emphasizes inclusivity. Jen says, “Women aren’t stupid” and we just want to be included in the conversation. By branding FanDuel as an entertainment platform it nurtures a sense of belonging for all users. Creating excitement around sports events, especially women’s sports, creates engagement. The app provides educational resources, enabling women to learn without feeling overwhelmed.


Jane Son, Katie Hill, and Elle Hagedorn transitioned to sports communications from diverse career backgrounds, driven by a desire for change. Katie Hills is now the Senior VP of Communication at the NFL. Elle Hodgan is the Senior Lead of Curry Brand Communications at Under Armour, and Jane Son, shifted to philanthropy and is now the Co-Head of Foundation & Community Engagement for the NY Mets. When questioned by moderator Jennifer Sabatelle, the common theme among them emerged: pride in what they’ve achieved. For Jane, it was her career change, for Elle, it was navigating her NBPA family through COVID-19, and for Katie, it was being a part of impactful projects. When Jennifer sought advice for young people, the consensus emphasized proactivity and hard work. Katie encouraged seeking advice and networking, Elle added, “If you don’t do the work, your reputation will go so far.” Jane highlighted dedication through the initiative. Collectively, their empowering insights left us inspired to pursue self-improvement.


As media attention to women’s sports grows so do inquiries on true equity and the well-being of athletes. Moderator Dee Lab opened the discussion with athlete leadership. The panelists agreed that leadership came in many forms. Batouly Camara, the founder of Women and Kids Empowerment, states she learned servant leadership, through her coaches. Ali Truwit, a former Yale Swimmer & Diver and Two-time USA Swimming Academic All-American highlights leadership doesn’t always mean being at the forefront. Dee asked about supporting athletes’ mental health, prompting Kate Rifkin, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in mental health and performance counseling for athletes and teams, to emphasize “Our words matter.” and creating a space to be vulnerable. Jacy Dyer, the Swimming & Diving Coach at Fairfield University, hopes to lead by example and see more male allyship. This panel evoked compassion for the women in our lives.


“What is your report card to society when it comes to Women in Sports?” asked our moderator Lana Zak. Our panelists had mixed thoughts but agreed that improvements needed to be made. Olga Harvey, the COO of the Women’s Sports Foundation highlighted Title IX’s advancement while underscoring its exclusion of women of color and LGBTQ individuals. When questioned about the media’s role, Olga advocates for open discussions on taboo topics. Sharon Cohen, CEO of Figure Skating in Harlem, agrees, adding people need to remember the humanity of girls, and that their well-being comes first. She recognizes her privilege and understands how important her support is. Adrienne Barber, Vice President of Properties and Events, at Major League Soccer, emphasizes the importance of amplifying women’s voices. They aspire to see increased funding and participation in women’s sports, urging public involvement by finding ways to engage and supporting even in small ways. This empowering discussion left us inspired to take action!

Gratitude to Lana’s captivating emceeing and the inspiring contributions of moderators, and panelists. Special thanks to NYWICI event organizers for bringing us together to learn, grow, and empower each other!

Written by Anisa Chowdhoury


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