As a movement, CrossFit values women's contributions and equality
From a lack of opportunities, to social stigma, to few positive role models - girls are often less likely to participate in sports compared to their male counterparts.
Global fitness movement CrossFit is working to address this problem and close the gender gap by empowering women in sport with pioneering initiatives.
“If women stop advocating for equity, we will lose ground,” says CrossFit’s Director of Sport Operations Heather Lawrence.
“So helping to keep the conversation in front of mind, the work that's gone into creating the equity we have now, which is still not perfect...is allowing our daughters and our girls to experience sport and happiness. There are different types of sports they can play without prejudice. Additionally, it is allowing our sons and young boys to play (sports) with girls and grow up with an understanding of the capabilities that girls have.”
Gender equality is core to CrossFit’s ethos
Gender equality has long been part of CrossFit’s core ethos and shapes how it delivers its various offerings.
For the CrossFit Games, an annual athletic competition, the same number of women are invited to participate as men, and compete in the same type of events, while women and men are awarded an equal amount of prize money.
In CrossFit gyms, women work out alongside men, with no gender-related boundaries to fitness opportunities or equipment usage.
Most importantly, mixed-gender CrossFit kids classes break down these barriers at an early age, when divisions can start forming that have a lifetime effect on a woman’s sporting participation.
Uniting competitors and viewers for the CrossFit Games
The CrossFit Games is a prime example of the company’s impact in the sporting world, and how further organizations, particularly sporting clubs and competition organizers, can approach gender equality.
The CrossFit Games have seen women and men win equal numbers of games and equal monetary prizes. Leading women and men from their respective divisions are invited to compete in the Games and every woman’s field event was broadcasted to many millions of viewers across platforms.
With no women’s league, the CrossFit Games eradicates gender divisions and instead unites genders and viewers under a shared passion for sports.
Inspiring girls to become fitness heroes
Meanwhile, girls are starting CrossFit at a young age and competing in the CrossFit Open from age 14, inspiring a love of sport and fitness that stays with them for life.
“I'm not sure we value having fun enough in health and fitness,” suggests Heather.
“The health pieces are great. Getting stronger is great. Building confidence is great as well. But I mean, having fun is really important too...That's what I would love to see with CrossFit kids. As kids are starting to mature and become amazing athletes, I hope that they retain the fact that the sport is really fun for them throughout their lifetime."
Heather, who has been doing CrossFit for years, inspires her own daughter to follow in her footsteps, as are countless other women encouraged by CrossFit to prioritize their health, challenge misconceptions, and become fitness heroes.