32nd National Girls and Women in Sports Day: Play Fair Play IX

SHAPE America is proud to celebrate the following women who have helped lead the way in promoting equality and access for women and girls in sport throughout their careers. Join us in saluting their accomplishments at the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo!

Guiding Woman and Sport Award Recipient: Anjali Forber-Pratt, Paralympic Medalist & Team USA Member (’08 & ’12)

Anjali Forber-Pratt epitomizes the central tenets of the Guiding Woman in Sport Award, which is given in recognition of extraordinary service, leadership and commitment to girls and women in sport.  

Early Life: After contracting an illness that resulted in being diagnosed with a neurological disorder, she was left paralyzed from the waist down. Forber-Pratt was introduced to the world of sports for those with disabilities at the young age of five while she attended a sports clinic. Exposed to a variety of sports, she took a strong liking to track. She quickly excelled and by the age of nine she was competing at the national level in track and field.

She is a world record holder in the 200m and has earned numerous top-three finishes in skiing. As a Paralympic medalist in wheelchair racing, Forber-Pratt has dedicated her life to helping others recognize their potential. She currently works as an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University and is involved with global disability advocacy efforts related to access to education, employment and sport.

What Receiving This Recognition Means to Forber-Pratt: "It's truly humbling. I don’t think of myself as a guiding woman in sport, I just do what I love and share that love of sport with others who, for whatever reason, are often left on the sidelines. I hope that my story and my passion for sport sparks something in young girls with and without disabilities to be the best that they can be."

National Girls and Women in Sports Legacy Awardee: Diane Gill, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Internationally renowned sport psychologist Dr. Diane Gill is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She will be presented with the first-ever National Girls and Women in Sports Legacy (NGWS) Award, which recognizes the NGWS legacy and mission of increasing opportunities for girls and women in sport as participants and leaders.

During her 40-year career, Dr. Gill's primary teaching has been in sport and exercise psychology. She has taught research methods, and developed and taught courses on gender and culture in sport and physical activity. Her research specifically focuses on social psychology and physical activity, with emphasis on physical activity and psychological well-being, as well as gender and culture. Most recently she has shifted her teaching and advising role to UNCG’s online professional EdD in Kinesiology program.

Dr. Gill joined SHAPE America (then AAHPERD) as a student and became a life member early in her faculty career, with active memberships in the former National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, the former National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the former Research Consortium.

What Receiving the Legacy Award Means to Gill: 
"The “Legacy” award truly reflects a legacy of strong women leaders and advocates for girls and women’s sport and physical activity. That legacy goes back well before Title IX to the early women leaders in physical education. For example, Mary Channing Coleman was the physical education director at my home institution (UNCG) from 1920-1947, which was then Woman’s College. Like many other women leaders, Coleman graduated from Amy Morris Homans’ program at Wellesley. I hope we not only celebrate National Girls and Women in Sport Day, but continue to build on that legacy." See Dr. Gill receive this recogniton at the Celebration of Professional Excellence Awards ceremony.


Rachel Bryant Lecturer: Sharon Shields, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University

A faculty member at Peabody College since 1976, Professor Shields' career has focused on teaching, clinical research and practice in the area of exercise physiology, health promotion and disease prevention; community health; and university/community service-learning and civic engagement initiatives. She also serves as associate dean for professional education at the college. She will present this year's Rachel Bryant Lecture at the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo. 

Areas of Focus: Dr. Shields has focused her teaching on issues of health service delivery to diverse populations and teaches in the areas of social justice, diversity, gender equity, and under-served populations as they relate to health and physical activity issues.

Scholarly Work: Her most recent scholarly work has been to conduct community development and action projects and initiatives related to physical activity, nutrition, health promotion and disease risk reduction, in both rural and urban settings.


Celebrate NGWSD!

  • Find community events to celebrate the accomplishments and build awareness all month!
  • Explore resources to host your own!
  • Share your school events #NGWSD and tag @SHAPE_America so we can help retweet!  

Social Media Connect with Us

Stay informed