By the age of 14, girls drop out of sports twice as often as boys. According to the Womens Sports Network factors such as social stigma, lack of access, safety and transportation issues, costs and lack of positive role models, can all contribute to the reasons why girls drop out of sports in their adolescent years. If these factors can be addressed, I believe that more girls will remain involved in sport and physical activity throughout their lives.
Participation in sport and physical activity positively impact physical and mental health. It is our responsibility to demonstrate to girls that it is socially acceptable to participate in sports; it can give girls the skills and confidence to break down barriers and achieve goals throughout their lives. The Women’s Sports Foundation’s report reviewed data from over 1,500 studies that demonstrate the importance of sport and physical activity for women and young girls. According to the report, staying active and participating in physical activity can prevent chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease, lower rates of substance abuse and alcoholism.
EY Women Athletics Business Network conducted a survey making the connection between women, sports and leadership. Out of 400 respondents, 74% said a background in sports can help accelerate a woman’s career; 66% believe that athletes make excellent candidates for jobs because they’ve developed a strong work ethic, can be a team player, and have the determination to be a great employee; and 75% stated that competitiveness is an asset to their leadership style in the workplace. Beyond girls having access to quality programs, it is important for them to see positive figures in both the media and their everyday lives to inspire them to stay involved in the game. They can look up to female leaders like Jen Welter, who recently became the first woman to hold a coaching position in the National Football League.
Beyond professional athletes, every community has the potential to provide positive female role models to be inspirational figures in a young girl’s life, such as coaches. I hope others will join us in our mission to keep girls active and positively impact future generations through sport.
So why not join in? Keep active during the Coronavirus outbreak.