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Nike’s Latest Ad Celebrates Generations of Female Athletes

On the 40th anniversary of Title IX, a new ad from Nike celebrates the grit of female athletes, past, present, and future.

Nike’s Latest Ad Celebrates Generations of Female Athletes
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The landmark Title IX legislation, which established gender equality in educational programs, had its 40th anniversary over the weekend. Perhaps the area where the impact of Title IX has been most felt is in the school gymnasium, where girls have since been guaranteed as many athletic opportunities as boys. A new ad by Nike gives viewers a one-on-one with some of the women who have benefitted from this historic legal precedent.

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Directed by filmmaker Mark Romanek, the Wieden + Kennedy-created ad centers on four female athletes: marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson, boxer Marlen Esparza, and WNBA stars Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi. The four women start off speaking about some of the hardships they faced in their early pursuit of sports, directly because of their gender. Soon, the words of these women appear to be emanating from a series of young girls who seem interested in all manner of sports, including football. The ad marks a passing of the sporting torch from one generation of female athletes to the next (and just in time for the Olympic games, no less).

See Nike and W+K’s classic ad focused on young female athletes, “If You Let Me Play,” below.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.

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