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Keeping Girls in Sport

Posted in: Active Living, Blogs

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities in partnership with the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport (CAAWS) and the Coaching Association of Canada have developed an online learning resource called Keeping Girls in Sport.  It is designed for organizations, coaches and youth activity leaders who help mentor and coach young girls.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX6mmQf1f8E

This resource has been created because the statistics for girls’ participation in sport and physical activity show low participation rates and high dropout rates. Did you know that if a girl isn’t participating in sport by the age of 10 there is only a 10% chance of them being physically active at age 25?  What’s more is that even if girls are involved in sport before age 10, there is a sharp decline in participation when they enter their teen years.  Their overall participation drops by 22% and school sport participation drops by almost 26%.

Yet we know that there are many benefits to participating in sport, recreation and physical activity, as seen in the table below:

  • Improved bone mass density
  • Overall health benefits from increased physical activity
  • Decreased risk of developing depression and anxiety
  • Improved psychological well-being
  • Improved mood
  • Increased feelings of empowerment
  • Greater sense of identity and ownership over one’s body
  • Promotes self-exploration, self-esteem, and self-concept
  • Provides a sense of being in control
  • Provides opportunity for leadership and achievement
  • Undermines traditional gender norms
  • More likely to attain higher levels of education and academic success
  • Greater involvement in extracurricular activities
  • Opportunities for cross cultural exchange and learning




However, girls’ participation rates are lower than boys’ participation rates in Canada.
The gender gap is summarized in this infographic from the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women (CAAWS).


So, what can we do to support girls’ participation in sport and recreation? CAAWS has some suggestions, and you can read all of them in Women in Sport: The Status of Female Sport Participation in Canada.


Here are a few of the suggestions:

  • Encourage the “next generation” of female enthusiasts by supporting a sport environment that is diverse, welcoming and fun professional positions and related roles
  • Launch and promote free and low-cost community female-only sport opportunities such as open houses or try-it days to expose diverse females to new sports in a safe and supportive environment. Check out Medicine Hat’s Girls on the Move Program!
  • Focus on fun, pleasure and challenge of participation, considering the age and abilities of participants
  • Schedule time for sport and physical activity, recognizing the importance of sport participation for physical, mental and social health
  • Help build girls’ confidence in sport by focusing on fundamental movement skills such as kicking, running, jumping, catching and throwing, before introducing fundamental sport-specific skills
  • Encourage girls to join and continue to play, coach and officiate a variety of sports from youth into their teens and adulthood
  • Support elite female athletes by attending and watching events, and following athletes on social media. Check out the Get Benched
  • Promote and share female sport news stories that focus on athletic skills, healthy living champions, accomplishments


Desirea Agar is a health promotion coordinator at Medicine Hat Community Health Services and can be reached at desirea.agar@ahs.ca


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