A Female Ultimatum
A 6-time olympic gold medal winner and an 11-time world champion battling against a multi-million dollar corporation.
“At 32, I was one of the most decorated athletes in history.” - Allyson Felix
Nike recently launched their maternity line, which some would say was a movement jump started by track phenom Allyson Felix.
The link between Nike’s new launch, a statement of growing initiatives, and Allyson Felix, is the backlash Allyson faced when she decided to embark into motherhood in 2018. Nike wanted to reduce her pay tremendously and declined her request to not be penalized for performance surrounding childbirth.
“If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?”, she stated in her transparent New York Times article.
This is just one of many challenges female athletes face on the athletic journey. It’s important to note that these challenges are not just present at the professional level. In a Yale co-authored study, they found that female student athletes in a variety of sports continue to struggle with eating disorders and body image issues. It’s a tug of war between training a body to be elite and living up to society’s definition of beautiful.
Allyson’s experience shined light on an on-going issue that female athletes are often pressured to make either-or decisions when it came to motherhood. When in reality, as Allyson so graciously shows us, you can do both. What was the end result? Well, the outcry and support from the public shifted how many company’s structured their pregnancy policies in favor of their athletes, including Nike.
One decision to speak up and not take things for “this is always how it has always been” helped shift the narrative. Just recently, Felix posted a picture with the caption, “Year 18 Day 1 #Tokyo202One
Literally breathing out inspiration to female athletes telling them three things.
- You are able to choose yourself
- There is a community whose mission is to redefine what it means to be a female athlete
- Speak Up. Easier said than done, but what’s the outcome of saying nothing at all?
Changing the Narrative is Allyson Felix