Celebrating International Women's Day 2024, the trailblazers, and modern sport milestones


As we celebrate International Women's Day this Friday, WinSport is proud to shine a spotlight on the incredible history of women in sport.

From the fearless trailblazers who paved the way, to the inspiring athletes currently making waves in the recently formed PWHL (Professional Women's Hockey League), women have continuously shattered barriers and redefined the sporting landscape. 

Join us on a journey through the milestones, triumphs, and significant strides that have marked the history of women in sports. It's tough to mention them all,  but here are some of the better-known and lesser-known groundbreaking athletes.

Trailblazers of the Past:

Title IX Revolution:

In the early 1970s, Title IX ushered in a new era for women in American sports by prohibiting sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs.

One of the most visible and transformative effects of Title IX has been the increased opportunities for female athletes. The law has played a significant role in expanding and improving women's athletic programs, fostering the growth of women's sports at all levels of education, and narrowing the gender gap in athletic opportunities and resources.

Title IX has become a cornerstone of the ongoing effort to ensure equal educational opportunities and eliminate gender-based discrimination in the United States.

Wilma Rudolph - Sprinting to Glory:

Wilma Rudolph, the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games (1960), inspired generations with her track and field prowess. Her achievements not only showcased her incredible talent but also challenged societal norms surrounding women in competitive sports.

Billie Jean King's "Battle of the Sexes":

In 1973, tennis legend Billie Jean King faced off against Bobby Riggs in the historic "Battle of the Sexes," a match that transcended sports and became a symbol of gender equality. King's victory demonstrated the strength and skill of women in sports, sparking a cultural shift.

Danica Patrick:

A groundbreaking figure in motorsports, Danica Patrick became the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race. She paved the way for more female drivers in traditionally male-dominated racing disciplines.

Kathrine Switzer:

Switzer made history by becoming the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967, challenging the prevailing belief that women were not fit for long-distance running.


Modern Milestones:


Breaking Glass Ceilings in Male-Dominated Leagues:

Over the years, we have witnessed a surge in women securing key roles in traditionally male-dominated sports leagues. Whether it's female coaches, referees, or executives, women are making their mark and challenging stereotypes, contributing to a more inclusive and diverse sports industry.


Alyssa Nakken:

In 2014, Alyssa Nakken began her baseball journey as an intern with the San Francisco Giants, focusing on health and wellness programs. In January 2020, Nakken made history as the first full-time female coach in MLB.

The pinnacle of Nakken's career came on April 12, 2022, when she became the first woman to coach on the field in a regular-season major league game. During a Giants game against the San Diego Padres, she stepped in as the first base coach.


Jessica Campbell:

As the Coachella Valley Firebirds assistant coach, the 31-year-old Saskatchewan native made history last year by becoming the first full-time female coach in the American Hockey League.

Her remarkable journey reached new heights on September 25, 2023, when she stood behind the NHL bench for the Seattle Kraken during a preseason game against the Calgary Flames.

Eager to solidify her place in the NHL, Campbell is part of a growing cohort of female coaches, following closely on the heels of Kori Cheverie, who took on a guest coaching role for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets just a day earlier.

Becky Hammon:

On Dec. 30, 2020, Becky Hammon achieved a groundbreaking milestone by becoming the inaugural woman to serve as head coach in an NBA regular-season game.

Stepping in for head coach Gregg Popovich, who was ejected in the first half, the San Antonio assistant coach took charge during the Spurs' 121-107 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.


Women in Video Games:

The inclusion of women in sports video games has become a significant move made by several companies over the last few years, reflecting the growing recognition and appreciation for female athletes.

Games like FIFA and NBA 2K now feature women's teams, giving fans the opportunity to experience the excitement of women's sports virtually. While sports games like EA Sports NHL have added female athletes at the national level and in the game’s ever so popular Ultimate Team mode.

In 2024, San Diego Studios announced MLB The Show 24 would allow players to take on the ‘Women Pave Their Way’ journey where gamers can create a female ballplayer in the popular Road to the Show mode.

A trailer released earlier this year paid homage to Kelsie Whitmore, the first player in an MLB partnered league.


Professional Women’s Hockey League:

Following the dissolution of the Canadian Women's Hockey League in 2019 (a league which included the WinSport-based Calgary Inferno), the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) emerged as a non-profit advocating for enhanced professionalism in women's ice hockey.

Members boycotted existing leagues, including the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), aiming to establish a unified professional league.

The league's inaugural draft in September 2023 paved the way for its debut season in January 2024, representing a significant step forward for women's professional hockey.

In its first season, the PWHL revealed a partnership with the National Hockey League for its All-Star celebrations.

As part of this collaboration, PWHL All-Stars took part in the "PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase", coinciding with the 2024 NHL All-Star weekend in Toronto.

The showcase featured 24 PWHL players, split into Team King and Team Kloss—named after Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, respectively.


Looking Ahead:

As we celebrate International Women's Day, WinSport remains committed to fostering an inclusive and empowering environment for women in sports. By acknowledging the past achievements, embracing the present progress, and looking forward to the future, we can continue to break down barriers and create a level playing field for all athletes, regardless of gender.

Join us in honouring the remarkable journey of women in sport, as we strive for a future where every athlete, regardless of gender, is celebrated for their skill, dedication, and contribution to the world of sports.

Happy International Women's Day from WinSport!