Female athletes have stood up for what they believe in before – but a leap in status and popularity and social media has helped athletes’ activism take off

Hardly a month seems to go by without high-profile US athletes speaking out on non-sporting causes. Increasingly, the most passionate voices belong to women.

Take the recent basketball game between Seattle Storm and Chicago Sky. The team’s owners organised a pre-game rally in support of Planned Parenthood, the nonprofit that provides reproductive healthcare and whose funding is under perpetual attack from the Republican party and the Trump administration. Several players, including star Seattle forward Breanna Stewart, issued a video backing the event. The Sky centre Imani Boyette skipped warm up to attend.

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