According to Jen Welter, “play like a girl” is probably one of the greatest compliments a woman can receive. Welter has become the first woman to ever be hired as a coach within the NFL.
Welter actually played women’s football herself professionally and worked as a sports psychologist prior to her preseason coaching internship in 2015. She made history as the first female coach and is doing so with the Arizona Cardinals.
Welter is one of the main spokepeople for the #LikeAGirl initiative, run by the feminine product company, Always. We have all seen the commercial with the girls who are asked what it means to do things “like a girl”, and it’s with commercials like that, along with other efforts, that Welter and the team at Always strive to increase confidence and self-esteem of both women and young girls by encouraging them to participate in some kind of sport, even if it is deemed a “guy’s” sport.
“Puberty is such a hard time for girls,” Welter explained. Welter explained that in a study done by Always, they found that 70% of girls feel out of place when it comes to playing sports. The same figure feels like society is actually against them playing sports and that there is a scarcity of female role models that successfully participate in sports.
“Even in my entire football career, I never once imagined that I could be a coach in the National Football League, because there was no girl that I could look at on the sidelines and say, ‘I want to be like her when I grow up,’” said Welter. “And now I know that every little girl can grow up with that dream.”
Welter did declare that sports had an influential role in her teenage years. “For me personally, sports was a way to live my life confidently,” she said. Welter plans to continue as a spokesperson for Always, and in doing so, giving other girls an opportunity to enjoy sports and succeed in them just like her. “To be able to increase that visibility as a female role model increases the possibility and hopefully the acceptability of [women] staying in sports and, like we say, truly playing like a girl,” Welter said.