Girls playing field hockeyGirls and young women who participate in sports are more likely to do better in school, achieve more in areas dominated by men, such as science, and hold better jobs as adults. The trend is especially striking among girls from minority groups, who appear to experience greater social and economic mobility, more confidence, and even more personal safety if they have participated in sports.

A survey of executive women found that 80% played sports growing up, and 69% said sports helped them develop leadership skills that contributed to their professional success.

Studies show that, on average, former college athletes earn a wage premium over others. Annual wages of former athletes, all other factors held constant, are on average about 7 percent higher than those of nonathletes.

Research indicates that this positive relationship between participation in sports and professional success applies as strongly, or even more strongly, to girls and women than in their male counterparts.

Ensuring girls have the same access to sports as boys can help them stay healthier and do better in the labor market.

– Sources: Women, Sports, and Development: Does It Pay to Let Girls Play? Peterson Institute for International Economics, March 2014
From elite female athletes to exceptional leaders: For all the places sport will take you, EY, 2013