Women's sports include amateur and professional competitions in virtually all sports. Female participation in sports rose dramatically in the twentieth century, especially in the last quarter, reflecting changes in modern societies that emphasized gender parity. Although the level of participation and performance still varies greatly by country and by sport, women's sports have broad acceptance throughout the world, and in a few instances, such as tennis and figure skating, rival or exceed their male counterparts in popularity.
Few women competed in sports until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as social changes in Europe and North America favored increased female participation in society as equals with men. Although women were permitted to participate in many sports, relatively few showed interest, and there was often disapproval of those who did. The modern Olympics had female competitors from 1900 onward, though women at first participated in considerably fewer events than men. Concern over the physical strength and stamina of women led to the discouragement of female participation in more physically intensive sports, and in some cases led to less physically demanding female versions of male sports. Thus netball was developed out of basketball and softball out of baseball.
Williams' victory was not without controversy, as the United States and Canada filed complaints with the judges related to Williams' helmet. However, judges ruled that ridges in her helmet did not violate International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) rules, and rejected the complaints.
The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women was founded in 1971 to govern collegiate women's athletics in the United States and to administer national championships. It evolved out of the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (founded in 1967). The association was one of the biggest advancements for women's athletics on the collegiate level. Throughout the 1970s, the AIAW grew rapidly in membership and influence, in parallel with the national growth of women's sports following the enactment of Title IX. The AIAW functioned in the equivalent role for college women's programs that the NCAA had been doing for men's programs. Owing to its own success, the AIAW was in a vulnerable position that precipitated conflicts with the NCAA in the early 1980s. Following a one-year overlap in which both organizations staged women's championships, the AIAW discontinued operation, and most member schools continued their women's athletics programs under the governance of the NCAA.
After making her county debut for Somerset at the age of 13, Davies quickly progressed into the England development and youth sides. She toured Australia with England Under-19s aged 15 and after two successful European tournaments, she captained the England Under-21s to victory in the 2006 Under-21 European Championships. After more matches for the development squad, and a number of tour matches for England, she made her ODI debut during the 2007–08 tour of Australia and New Zealand, playing the fifth and final one-day match against Australia, and three of the five matches against New Zealand. Following this, she continued to be involved in the England Academy, but has not made any further ODI appearances. In 2009, she took on the captaincy of Somerset.