If you are a female and your goal is to become a pro or amateur athlete, the last thing you want to do is make an ill informed decision, especially when it comes to something this big. So, there are a couple of things you should know before making this choice, and they have been provided courtesy of the Women’s Sports Foundation, an organization “dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity” that has been in existence since 1974, thanks to its founder and tennis legend, Billie Jean King.

In a report titled The Women’s Sports Foundation Report: Addressing the Needs of Female Professional and Amateur Athletes, the foundation released findings after studying nine different focus groups made up of female athletes, as well as looking at survey responses from almost 40 different sports governing bodies. What did they discover?

For starters, women’s sports are very low in the funding department. Health coverage, if offered, is minimal, and most all of your expenses in regard to competition (such as training and travel expense) are going to be your burden, which may mean that you may not be able to compete as much as you’d like.

Second, there is often a shortage of female coaches, potentially leaving you without a role model that understands you and can communicate with you in a way that motivates you to the level of excellence. Your training facilities are often inadequate as well, putting you at a distinct disadvantage when compared to male athletes, and you’re also underrepresented in the organizations that govern a majority of the professional sports.

This information is not provided to discourage you from competing, but rather to get you to see some changes that need to be made for pro and amateur female athletes everywhere. Changes that you can help implement once you make your way to the top, inspiring all of the women that aspire to be there after you!