Sportswomen Who Have Made a Mark in Their Respective Fields

Sports is the universal inspiring language that unites communities and brings people together. In the case of women’s sports, it stands as a strong symbol of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women’s sports have been on the rise across fields, and some phenomenal female athletes have been making their mark in recent years. Many extraordinary women in sports for decades have broken the glass ceiling, setting records, and inspiring generations of girls to come. They have etched their names in their respective fields while leaving behind an enduring legacy to empower others.

We are moving towards a more inclusive and diverse sports world around us. This means brands are realising how important identity and gender roles are in marketing efforts. Giving female athletes a voice with tailored and strategic brand ambassador sponsorships. Not only does this highlight their achievements in sports, but also brings them closer to connecting with a global audience. It helps in redefining traditional gender roles offering young girls’ inspiration.

In this article, we bring to light some of the leading female athletes who have carved their niches in their respective sports. They are the ones who broke records, set new ones, and served as inspiration in an otherwise male-dominated sports industry.

Top 6 Sportswomen Who Inspired the World

1. Serena Williams: The beckon of Tennis

If a name dominated the game of Tennis in the 21st century, it is Serena Williams. She has won 23 grand slams, the highest till Novak Djokovic won 24. Making her the leading Tennis player to have won the highest number of grand slam titles. She still plays at the age of 43 years old to raise awareness for gender equality, cultures, and other social issues.

She is one player the global audience widely regards as the greatest tennis player of all time. Her record has her as the Tennis number 1 for 319 weeks by the Women’s Tennis Association. Finishing the year as #1 five times. She also has four Olympic Gold medals to her name. Serena’s accomplishments brought her numerous and lucrative endorsement deals with brands like Nike, Gatorade, Chase, JP Morgan, Intel, and more.

Today she is a leading venture capitalist who is supporting companies started by people of colour.

2. Bille Jean King: Revolutionized the game of Tennis

There are champions and then women have changed the sport. Billie Jean King is the woman who changed the sport of Tennis. She has been a true trailblazer who broke many stereotypes in Tennis. King played 51 grand slam titles between 1959 to 1983. Winning 39 of them: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles.

One of the defining ways in which she pioneered being the greatest athlete was by leading a meeting that led to the creation of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). In 1973, she threatened to walk out of the US Open if female tennis athletes were not paid the same as men. In the same year, the US Open became the first grand slam to offer equal prize money to female tennis players. Outside the court, King is known to be a staunch advocate for women’s rights and stands tall with the LGBTQIA+ movement. She is 80 years old today and is still known to fight for diversity rights.

3. Mary Kom: A true boxing legend

Mary Kom is a pioneering name in the world of boxing. Not only did she conquer boxing, but also shattered gender barriers in the male-dominated sport. Known for her tenacity, skill, and resilience, Kom has earned several global accolades and medals.

Her achievements in boxing include six world titles and an Olympic bronze medal. What makes her the most dominant female player is that she is the only female boxer to have a six-time winning record in the World Amateur Boxing Championship. And the only female boxer to win a medal in all her seven world championship matches. Her impact extends beyond the ring as she still works on inspiring young girls to lead in boxing.

Her brand sponsorships include Puma, StarHealth Insurance, BharatPe and more. She was named the brand ambassador for the Women’s World Championship 2023 by the Boxing Federation of India.

4. Simone Biles: The artistic gymnast

Known to be the undisputed GOAT of all time in the world of gymnastics, Biles is a US national treasure but also a global icon. At the young age of 27 years old, she is a global artistic gymnast. Who comes with an unparalleled athleticism and unwavering determination to become the greatest Olympian of all time.

She has set many records at her young age, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She became the first female US gymnast to win four gold medals in singles games. She has been the first gymnast to win three consecutive world all-around titles. And then the winning six world all-around titles from 2013-15, 2018-19, and 2023. She has 32 medals under her name including the Olympics and World Championships.

Biles is the loudest advocate for women’s empowerment and athlete’s mental health. Critics claim she is on her way to becoming the most decorated gymnast of all time.

5. Marta Vieira da Silva: GOAT of Football

Known as ‘Marta’, she is the most celebrated female football player. The GOAT in football winning both in her career; critical acclaim and fans’ love. There is nothing in the world of Football she has not accomplished – be it for her country team – Brazil or her club.

She’s the leading goal scorer for Brazil with 115 goals under her name. She’s the only soccer player of any gender who has scored across five different world cups. The first footballer of any gender, to score five consecutive Olympic Games. Playing for the Brazilian team, she also has two silver medals in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. She also won the Golden Boot award and Golden Ball award in the 2007 Women’s World Cup. Guess who has the greatest number of World Cup goals under their name. It’s not Ronaldo or Messi, its Marta!

She is a member of the United Nations campaigning and advocacy team for promoting diversity and gender equality.

6. Ronda Rousey: The MMA trailblazer

Ronda Rousey’s contribution to the world of women leading MMA cannot be overstated. She has been the first woman to sign with the UFC, paving the way for female fighters. Bringing mainstream attention to women’s MMA. Rousey is known for her absolute dominance in the bantamweight division. Her determination and wins make her the GOAT of combat sports.

Her record is impeccable, she has been undefeated for three years as the UFC’s Bantamweight champion. She has defended her title six times and was being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018. She was a 2008 Olympics bronze medallist and silver medallist in 2007 World Championships in Judo before making her journey to MMA.

Sheryl Swoopes in Basketball, Venus Williams in Tennis, Sara Takanashi in Ski jumping, and Ding Ning in Table Tennis are a few other names to mention who have achieved GOAT status in their sports fields.

The legacy of these and many other female athletes is a testament to their talent, skills, willpower, and determination. Their stories span beyond the courts and ring to serve the community and lead to gender equality in sports. They are a beacon of hope for aspiring female athletes who are here to reinforce the notion that great players are beyond gender stereotypes. Their iconic athleticism and loud advocacy are shaping the future of sports as an equal, inclusive, diverse, and empowered sector.

Stay tuned to MBA ESG blog for inspiring stories in the world of sports.

Author: Mankiran