The Lethbridge Sport Council believes everyone should have the opportunity to experience quality sport. Sport has the capacity to teach lifelong lessons and skills, as well as to influence physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness benefits.
Girls are dropping out of sport at a much higher rate than boys. The Rally Report (June 2020), produced in partnership with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, reports, “1 in 3 girls are leaving sport by late adolescence. By comparison, the dropout rate for teenage boys (aged 16-18) is only 1 in 10.”
Lethbridge Sport Council recently launched the series From Sport to Leadership highlighting local women leaders sharing their experience with sport, and how the skills learned through sport impact their professional roles and life journey. This series was inspired to empower women to lead and to demonstrate that encouraging young girls to play sports has the potential to grow into women who lead.
The Lethbridge Sport Council wants to help increase the inclusivity and involvement of women and girls in physical activity and sport by providing some useful tips.
Canadian Women & Sport suggest five ways of positive messaging to encourage and promote participation by girls and young women within sport and physical activity.
- Use inclusive language so girls and young women know they have a place in sport,
- Emphasize fun and fitness rather than competition, personal injuries or negative experiences,
- Share personal experiences about how sport makes you feel,
- Share your role models by talking about a woman who influenced your life, and
- Make a statement about the importance of physical activity in the lives of females and males.
Not surprisingly, research shows that parents play a vital role in their children's involvement and enjoyment in sport. Canadian Women & Sport recommend the following ways parents can help make a difference in their daughters’ participation and enjoyment in sport.
Simply photograph your child being active; enlarge it, frame it and be proud of it. Actively support your daughter’s involvement in physical activity, this can be demonstrated through watching her games or driving her to and from practices. Take your daughter to the park and be active with her, this can help her to learn fundamental skills of running, throwing, catching and kicking. Be an active role model yourself, research has shown parents participation in sport increased participation rates of their children. Emphasize fun and fitness rather than competition and body image, simply love and support her just the way she is and encourage her to try a variety of new activities. Introduce your daughter to active women, expose her to women who are athletes, coaches, officials and leaders in sport. This can be done by watching women’s sporting events on TV with your daughter or taking her to women’s sporting competitions in your community. Lastly, plan active vacations or weekend excursions like hiking, skiing or rafting.