Storybook heroine Maggie Steele’s Audiobook Campaign has been selected to receive bonus funds during the International Women’s Day Celebration, March 3-8, to honor her inspiring message for young women and girls.
On Monday March 3rd, Maggie’s campaign will receive an extra dollar for every $25 raised on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform. Indiegogo will also match $1 for every $25 raised on Saturday, March 8th.International Women’s Day on Indiegogo celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.
Inspiring Change is the 2014 theme for the celebration, which encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.
“I’m honored that Maggie’s campaign has been selected for the International Women’s Day Celebration,” said Grant Overstake, author of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon. “It’s a tribute to Maggie’s heroic character as a young woman and to female pole-vaulters everywhere. Challenging the status quo is one of Maggie’s strongest character traits.
“I want to encourage contributors to be sure to give on those dates so that we can maximize the total amount raised for the campaign and Maggie’s voice can be heard,” he added.
Maggie, a gusty farm girl from tiny Grain Valley, Kansas, is an inspiring new heroine in young adult fiction. Narrator Tavia Gilbert is eager to perform and produce the novel on audiobook. Her list of accolades includes six Audie Award nominations (the audiobook equivalent of the Academy Award). The campaign will cover Tavia’s expenses, and lift the sport of pole-vaulting to a new audience.
Gill Athletics, the world’s largest track and field equipment manufacturer, is proud to be the Grand Prize Sponsor of Maggie’s Audiobook Campaign. Additional sponsors for the 30-day event include: Artist Phillip Carrero, Dial Athletics, Fuzion Athletics, Raise the Bar Pole Vault Club, Rusty Shealy Pole Vault Club, Texas Pole Vault Club at Elitz Sports, Tailwind Pole Vault Club, and Vaulter Magazine.
Maggie faces many obstacles in her attempt to overcome tragedy and hardship. One of her biggest challenges is overcoming the gender bias of local townspeople, clergy, and school board members, who seem to be living in a time warp some 40 years in the past — before Title IX guaranteed girls the right to have equal access to sports. Despite powerful opposition, Maggie finds her destiny through the sport of pole-vaulting, a track and field event that was once considered too dangerous and inappropriate for girls.
The story of Maggie’s setbacks in the face of gender bias struck a chord with best-selling author and USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan. The top female sportswriter in the nation and an important voice for gender equality in sports, Brennan has written and spoken extensively on women’s sports issues.
“This inspiring book comes along at a perfect time, on the 40th anniversary of Title IX and in the same year as women athletes dominated the 2012 London Olympics,” writes Brennan in the blurb of the novel, which was published in 2012.
“Girls who play sports and the coaches and families who support them will thoroughly enjoy Grant Overstake’s warm, uplifting story. After reading it, we’ll all wish we were pole vaulters like Maggie.”
Indeed, pole-vaulting has become one of the most popular and fastest-growing sports among girls. While the National Federation of State High School Associations doesn’t keep a record of the number of girl vaulters, Greg Hull, a track and field/pole vaulting consultant to the association, estimates the number of girl vaulters at around 15,000!
A number of pole-vaulting clubs have sprung up across the nation and a vast number of participants in these clubs are girls. Many of the clubs sponsoring Maggie’s Audiobook Campaign have as many or more girl vaulters than boys. One of these clubs is the Tailwind Pole Vaulting Club, in Jamestown, Kansas, led by Dr. Mark Breault, a coach who has seen many of his female vaulters qualify for the Kansas State Championships and go on to vault on college scholarships, including former Kansas Champion and current collegiate vaulter, Taylor Marie Swanson.
In creating the story, Overstake, a former college decathlete and sportswriter for the Miami Herald, drew upon his own experience growing up as a high school athlete in the mid-1970s, just as Title IX began giving his female classmates the right to compete in interscholastic sports. One of those girls became his wife.
“My high school sweetheart, Claire Brewer Overstake, was among the first women athletes to receive a sports scholarship to college,” Overstake recalled. “Looking back on it now, she was one of the pioneers who paved the way for thousands of other female athletes to follow. Because of Title IX she was given her chance to shine.
“In the story, Maggie Steele faces gender bias and prejudice that you would hope had been put behind us by now, 41 years after Title IX, but there are still some people who just don’t get it,” he added. “Maggie faces these people and, well, you’ll have to read the book to see how she deals with it.”
Before Title IX, despite their obvious ability, things were different. The primary physical activities for girls were cheerleading and square-dancing. Only 1 in 27 girls played high school sports. There were virtually no college scholarships for female athletes. And female college athletes received only two percent of overall athletic budgets.
About International Women’s Day
The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911, and it’s observed every year on March 8th.
It celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing global attention on areas requiring further action. Celebrated in over 100 countries, IWD is currently a national holiday in 35 countries. All of March is Women’s History Month. According to the United Nations, the new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation.
Many from a younger generation feel that all the battles have been won for women. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices.
And, today of course, female pole-vaulters are soaring over the moon!