From the Fairway to the Boardroom: Using the Game of Golf to Empower Young Girls

by Sharon Ritchey, Chief Operating Officer of AXA US

While few would disagree that women need to be more visible in Corporate America’s C-Suites, the challenge is how to get them there.

According to the Center for American Progress, only about 14 percent of women are executive officers, yet for entry-level, college-educated positions, women account for 59 percent of the workforce.It helps to start young and golf can be one avenue that young women can use.

I am a strong supporter of programs like the LPGA Foundation’s Girls Golf initiative, which aims to inspire young girls to dream big and empower themselves through the game of golf. Young women learn not only about golf and practical aspects of the game, but also important life skills such as confidence, companionship and mentorship in a traditionally male-dominated sport. Research shows that girls reap the biggest rewards when learning in a setting where they are free to be themselves.

Perhaps the boardroom could take more cues from golf. The proverbial “Five E’s” of  Girls Golf – to enrich, engage, exercise, energize and empower – provide important life lessons for girls to challenge the status quo. Girls should be taught to make important decisions that enrich their lives financially, personally, and educationally, while enhancing their self-esteem and career prospects.

In turn, we must engage girls both intellectually and artistically, and exercise using these skills to better them. The result? A more energized and empowered generation of young women ready to seize opportunities.

originally published on LinkedIn.com by Sharon Ritchey, Sr. Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company

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