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In Her Own Words: Aubri James on Women’s History Month

In Her Own Words: Aubri James on Women’s History Month

Aubrion “Aubri” James is a fifth-year senior on the Southern University Lady Jags Softball team. She is also in her first year of graduate school pursuing a Master of Business Administration. Originally from Madison, Alabama, Aubri has been playing softball since she was five years old and in her free time she loves to read, worship, and get “dolled” up. She is currently an AFH Intern. 

On both sides of my family both of my grandmother’s had 10+ siblings (majority sisters).  My paternal grandmother died a year before I was born.  Her name was Bertha James and before she died, she told my parents that they would have a baby girl.  They say I get my “mouth” from my grandmother because she always spoke her mind.  Even though I never got to meet her, she left behind many strong sisters.  These women I get to call my great aunts have accomplished amazing things.  They were educators, leaders, and held positions of power.  My aunts on my dad’s side always pushed me to further my education and I may not have understood then, but now I realize that women like themselves did not have the opportunity to learn back in the day.  They continued to defy stereotypes and push for something they knew they were capable of obtaining.  My maternal grandmother, Ruthie Robinson, died when I was 13 years old, so I had more time with her.  Ruthie was a caretaker.  My most clear memories of her were when we would come down on Sundays and she always had dinner ready for us and the house was always clean.  She was the glue that held our family together.  As women I do not think we get enough credit for having traits that keep a lot of shows going.

Women’s History Month is essential in today’s world.  We talk a lot about diversity and making sure that organizations are being equally inclusive, but we do not talk a lot about representation.  Being a black woman, in the sport of softball particularly, growing up I did not see very many black girls on a team.  I spent my career always being one of two maybe three, if not the only, black girl on the teams I played on.  According to my faith, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Representation can help a person see that someone like them is doing it, so they can too because they really can as long as they have Christ by their side.  History needs to be documented, so that young girls can see how strong we are as a species.  We have overcome many gender biases in all aspects of life, and we can continue to leave our mark as women.

Women can literally do anything.  We cook, we clean, and we even play sports including football!  Society sometimes looks at women’s sports as not entertaining and use that for the reason why we should not be afforded the same opportunities as men.  I truly believe that we work just as hard as men.  We have early mornings and late nights.  We have injuries.  So, my question is why can’t we have our own locker rooms, why can’t we have weights, and get the treatment that men get?  When people are set up for success, I believe they are more likely to succeed.  Being a fifth-year senior in my sport I want to applaud all women because we always find a way to make it happen with or without anyone’s help.  I have seen firsthand gender inequality, and every team that I have ever been a part of found a solution…on our own.

My advice to our community is to continue to give recognition to our special accomplishments.  Help women to know that they are valued and appreciated for everything they do.  Women, let’s continue to call out inequality and bias.  Do not be afraid to bring to light any injustices that you face because the only way that we can gain the respect we deserve is by standing up and speaking out.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with AFH

Women’s History Month is here! At Athletes for Hope we know that by empowering girls to become leaders in society, nations change. When women and girls lead, economies become more stable, prosperous and peaceful. We believe that sports have the ability to change lives. That’s why, over the course of the next 31 days, we want to celebrate the trailblazers that have changed the trajectory of women’s sports for the next generation of female athletes. To do so, our goal is to equip you with the facts and figures that illustrate how far we’ve come, how much is left to be done and how YOU can make a difference. Here’s the lineup:

Media Coverage & Sponsorships

Representation is important. As they say, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Burying articles in the back of a sports section, bumping a highlight to the final segment of a broadcast or even worse, excluding it altogether, isn’t going to cut it anymore. Especially when we know that from a brand and ROI perspective, women control 80% of consumer purchases. And with women’s participation, interest and turnout all on the rise, brands are missing out on valuable long-term investments by turning down opportunities for women’s teams and athletes. Need another reason to support increased media coverage and sponsorships for women? We have a week’s worth of data to back it up.

Equal Pay

Women make an average of 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. It’s even worse for women of color. Those gross inequalities can be found at the highest levels of sports as well. Take Serena Williams for example. She’s paid significantly less than her male counterparts. Serena Williams! In fact, no woman shows up on the list of highest paid athletes until Serena…at #40. But thanks to activists like Serena and her counterparts on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, USA Women’s Hockey Team and elsewhere, things are starting to change. We’ve captured what’s been done, what’s coming down the pike and how you can keep the conversation about equal pay going.

Champions for Change

Our heroes. We all have them. Those athletes that changed what you thought was possible, pushed you to dig a little deeper and made you believe that you too might win the World Cup, a WNBA Championship or an Olympic gold medal. We’re highlighting some of the female athletes that have inspired, empowered and used their platforms to encourage the next generation of girls in sports. Who’s your shero?

Sports Participation

We’ll round out our Women’s History Month celebration by showcasing the reasons why increasing and encouraging girls to play and stay in sports is critical. And it starts at the top. When we make women’s sports a priority, we will begin to see an increase in participation in sports at the youth level. Title IX may make funding available for women’s sports, but it doesn’t mean there are enough opportunities for women in which to take part. Title IX is just the beginning to achieving equality between women’s and men’s sports. With so much left to be done, we’re talking what you can do to narrow the gap!

We hope you’ll follow along as we bring you resources, data and stories from your favorite athletes. We’re looking forward to hearing from YOU so please share your thoughts with us along the way! You can follow us on Instagram (@AthletesforHope) to see our daily stories, on Twitter (@AthletesforHope) and on Facebook. Make sure to share the images and stats that speak to you using the hashtags #SistersInSport and #WomensHistoryMonth. Let’s make some noise for change this March!