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USTA Florida Reveals Women in Tennis Research, Expands Women in Tennis Initiative

USTA Florida Reveals Women in Tennis Research, Expands Women in Tennis Initiative

USTA Florida released new independent research focused on closing the current gender gap in Florida tennis and celebrated International Women’s Day by honoring the all-women tennis, park and city leadership team at Coral Reef Park in Palmetto Bay. 

While at an event honoring the women leaders in the community of Palmetto Bay, USTA Florida shared the need for our industry to come together to advocate for more women in similar roles across the state. According to a new research report, written by Clarity Writing & Research, girls and women continue to lag in terms of participation as players, coaches and leaders across the county and in the state of Florida. 

To help address the gender gap, USTA Florida is expanding its Women in Tennis Initiative to deliver more all-girls tennis camps, more all-women coach trainings and more women’s speaking opportunities in 2024.  Additionally, the organization will be advancing core equity principles throughout the year in all of its work. 

“Not only will we continue to grow the number of our camps and coaching trainings throughout the state, but this research project gives us clear action steps to improve our own work and help others do the same,” said Dana Andrews, USTA Florida Past President. “I applaud our board for providing financial backing for the research project and we truly hope that the research and its directives will be a benefit nationwide.” 

According to the report, there were over 1.6 million tennis players in Florida in 2022, but only 39 percent of those participants were women – despite women making up 51 percent of Florida’s population.  On the coaching level, only about 25 percent of certified coaches are women and there is a substantially greater number of male industry leaders than women. 

The City of Palmetto Bay serves as an exception to the current norm, with women filling three key leadership roles overseeing tennis programs at Coral Reef:  Kara Borromeo serves as Director of Tennis for the park; Fanny Carmona serves as the park director; and Mayor Karyn Cunningham is the elected leader for the city. 

Mayor Cunningham, the only female mayor in all of South Dade, was honored to speak and present both Borromeo and Carmona with a key to the city, for their dedication and leadership in Palmetto Bay. “You don’t have to be the number one player to lead,” she said while presenting Borromeo with a key to the city. “That’s what you are doing for the children here in community. You are giving them a community within a community, a place they feel safe, have trusted individuals around them, and a place they can grow their confidence, no matter if they become great tennis players or don’t.”

Borromeo isn’t just a great model to those she teaches in Palmetto Bay, but to women and girls who can see themselves in any role thanks to how she shows up in her community. USTA Florida is committed to helping shape more leaders like Borromeo in the Florida tennis community, so young girls can be inspired to be leaders of their own.

Additionally, among Clarity’s findings, researchers agreed that offering more all-girls and women-specific opportunities has proven to be effective.  At USTA Florida’s all-girls tennis camp at Delray Beach in 2023, 88 percent of the participants parents said that the “all-girls” aspect influenced their decision to register their daughters. 

Clarity also pointed to a 2022 study, where the Departments of Kinesiology at Cal State East Bay and Saint Mary’s College of California released ten research-based recommendations for advancing gender equity in sports. These are the following: 

  1. Promote girl-only and/or girl-centered programming 
  2. Ask girls what they want 
  3. Develop skills then introduce healthy competition 
  4. Emphasize social support from family and friends 
  5. Support women coaches 
  6. Train all coaches how to coach girls 
  7. Make uniforms more accessible 
  8. Design culturally responsive programs 
  9. Create accessible opportunities 
  10. Add intentional girl-centered policies and procedures 

“It is important for USTA Florida to work these practices into the initiative as it will help women and girls within the sport feel comfortable when playing, coaching and become future women leaders in the industry,” said Andrews. 

Researchers also suggested that USTA Florida make gender equality foundational in all curriculums aiming to close the gap:  “Equity must be foundational, not simply an add-on. One way to ensure this is to bring all coach training curricula in line with best and promising practices concerning gender equity. This would both better align with the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments and increase the Women in Tennis initiative’s potential reach.” 

USTA Florida is committed to invest in women and foster the evolution of women involvement in the sport at all levels.  To read the full report and learn more about the expanded Women in Tennis initiative, visit 


Written by: Jaret Kappelman, Marketing & Communications Coordinator for USTA Florida. Be sure to check out USTA Florida, the governing body of amateur tennis in Florida, offering tennis programs for all ages and ability levels. 

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