Canada’s Sport Community Needs to Do More to Keep Women and Girls in the Game
A lack of women role models, ill-fitting equipment, period cramps and body confidence issues are just some of the unique challenges women and girls face in the Canadian sport world compared to men and boys.
With 1 in 3 Canadian girls dropping out of sport in adolescence, according to the latest data from The Rally Report, Canadian Women & Sport is now calling on Canada’s sport community to do more to understand and adapt to the barriers faced by women and girl athletes.
As sport programs look to return to play across the country, Canadian Women & Sport has launched a national awareness campaign, a project funded by Sport Canada, to highlight how Canadians can do better to understand the needs of women and girl athletes and make changes that support them to stay in sport.
“As Canada’s sport world deals with the impact of the pandemic, we need to make sure we stay vigilant in creating an equitable and responsive environment where all Canadians can benefit from inclusive sport programs,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CEO, Canadian Women & Sport. “Our research clearly shows that we all need to do more to better understand how women and girls experience sport and how to support them in their athletic endeavours. This campaign will challenge traditional mindsets so that we can all drive positive change across all sports and communities in Canada.”
She’s Got It All
Timed to coincide with the International Day of Girl on October 11, the “She’s Got it All” campaign demonstrates that while women and girls have what it takes to succeed in sport, including talent, drive and determination, they still have to overcome barriers that are typically not present for men. These barriers are not the fault of any one individual but exist because Canada’s current sport system is an environment built for and by men. These barriers are compounded for girls who experience additional discrimination because of their ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, gender, or sexual orientation.
Creative for the “She’s Got It All” campaign will be customized for different sports and featured across major social and digital platforms. Canadian Women & Sport is also working with national and provincial sport bodies to connect with key influencers including coaches, parents, allies and industry partners.
To help kick off the campaign, Canadian Women & Sport is offering suggestions on easy ways to better support women and girls in sport:
- Prioritize social connection among athletes rather than encouraging them to compare and compete against each other. When girls feel accepted by their peers, it enhances their individual and group performance and keeps them in sport longer
Parents / Guardians
- Expose your daughter to positive role models. Girls are more likely to play sport if their parents participate, so that role model could be you
- Help increase the representation of women in leadership roles across sport by establishing targets and appropriate plans for recruiting and advancing women as coaches, officials and senior leaders
- Speak up! Be vocal about equitable access for ALL women and girls with respect to programs, facilities, equipment, quality coaching, and leadership opportunities. Anyone can act as an ally in solidarity with others who face more barriers to sport than they do
Corporations / Media
- Make a commitment to increase representation of diverse women in sport media both in the content you produce and behind the scenes, and commit to investing in the future of women’s sport
A dedicated online portal with suggested actions to drive change is available at https://yourrole.womenandsport.ca/.
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For More Information
Director, Marketing and Communications
Canadian Women & Sport