(NC) Despite the wide-ranging evidence of the benefits of physical activity, many young girls continue to make the decision to drop out of sports. According to a new report called Women in Sport: Fuelling a Lifetime of Participation, social pressures frequently influence this decision – one of eight contributing factors.
The report, commissioned by Canada’s dairy farmers and the Canadian Association for Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), demonstrates that these social pressures range from peer influence to lack of self-confidence, and ultimately lead to the ever-present gender inequality of sports culture.
According to the study, 41 per cent of Canadian girls between the ages of three and 17 do not participate in sports. That number more than doubles to 84 per cent, when it comes to adult women. As they enter adolescence, sport participation for girls drops by 22 per cent, and school sport participation drops close to 26 per cent.
“These findings demonstrate that there isn’t one reason why girls stop participating in sports – these social issues are complex and deserve Canadians’ attention,” says Karin Lofstrom, executive director of CAAWS.
Increased support is imperative in encouraging girls to play. Looking to role models, such as female athletes, can help demonstrate to girls that success in sports is attainable, and can provide them with the confidence and determination needed as they seek to overcome life’s hurdles.
“As champions of healthy living and playing an active role in their communities, Canada’s dairy farmers are addressing these inequalities through an initiative named Fuelling Women Champions. The initiative’s goal is to raise awareness of females in sport, while creating role models for women and young girls,” says Caroline Emond, executive director of Dairy Farmers of Canada.
For more information, to obtain a copy of the report or to get involved in the initiative, visit www.womenchampions.ca. Follow and join the movement online to #ChampionHer.