In this episode, I speak with one of the most decorated American distance runners of all time, Lauren Fleshman. Throughout her career, Lauren saw how the sports systems - originally designed by men, for men and boys - continued to fail young women and girls as much as empower them.
Girls drop out of sports at alarming rates once they hit puberty, and female collegiate athletes routinely fall victim to injury, eating disorders or mental health struggles as they try to force their way past a natural dip in performance for women of their age.
Lauren isn’t just changing the system by breaking records, but also by speaking out about the inequitable systems of competitive sport and the need to rebuild them with women at their center.
Some topics we cover include:
- The benefits of sports for women and girls
- How the sports system was designed for male athletes – and spectators – and what that means for women
- The physical and psychological toll of unrealistic body standards placed on female athletes – and all women
- The continued sexualization of female athletes
- Lauren’s first-hand experience of these inequities, and how she is fighting back
- Lack of representation in leadership and coaching positions – what makes it hard to gain equality, and why it matters
- How athletes today – especially women of color – are speaking out and changing the norms
Transcription is available here
Changemakers: How women make change happen
This is the first episode of the new Changemakers series which explores how women make change happen from those at the top helping to drive it. Each episode, we look at where we are on this long march to equality, what lies ahead, and how important you are in the fight.
In this 14-episode series, we’ll hear from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman, Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, and Afghanistan's youngest ever female mayor Zarifa Ghafari, among others. Guest host Asha Dahya speaks with co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement Alicia Garza.
Subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly dose of all things WOMAN
We need more women’s stories in the world! If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please share, subscribe, rate and review on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts