It’s no surprise that The Office for National Statistics confirms that boys spend significantly longer playing sport each day than girls. However, the report finds that despite boys playing more sport, both genders enjoy it equally. Boys don’t spend more time playing because they enjoy it more. They just do it more.
It’s worrying therefore that the report shows a direct correlation ‘between a lack of physical activity by young British girls and them having poorer mental health and lower aspirations than their male counterparts’. According to Chris Wright (Head of Well-being at the Youth Sport Trust) - ‘their future life chances are affected by the amount of physical activity they do in their younger years’. So why aren’t girls playing sport, what are the barriers?
Campaigns like #ThisGirlCan by Sport England and #LikeaGirl by Always have looked into why girls don’t connect with sport in the same way that boys and men do. They have found that it is often down to lack of confidence, low self-esteem and that young girls don’t have as many successful role models in sport. But when does this start and how can girls find the confidence to take part?
European Gold Medalist Dina Asher-Smith believes this starts at school. 'I think much more emphasis should be put on sport for girls at school, but not about winning, more about good mental health. There are so many transferable skills with sport, it gives you self-confidence, it helps to relieve anxiety and it is healthy for young women’.
Sport builds confidence, builds skills such as teamwork and leadership as well as striving towards goals. Through being involved in sport - Asher Smith believes she has a more realistic and healthy approach to her body - she sees ‘bodies for what they can do, not what they look like.’
So how can we get girls back in the game?
Turn on and turn up
At the moment only 7% of media sport coverage televising women’s sports - but this is on the increase. The more we watch and the more we turn up to the games - the more coverage women’s sport will get.
Part of the reason girls are turned off from sport is they don’t see the point - they don’t see why they would do it as only men can have a career. Female athletes are great role models and can show girls that there is a place for them in sport.
Join classes and clubs
There are plenty of clubs and classes available for several different sports - which mean they can start playing earlier and sports not delivered in school. At a club they will have the chance to play matches and compete as well as train. If your daughter is not keen to compete yet and just wants to learn the skills and rules - there are lots of skills based classes which will help to build confidence and skills - whilst making new friendships and enjoying sport.
Take a friend
Women in Sport have found that one of the main reasons women start playing sport again is to ‘make friends and have fun’. If your daughter is apprehensive about starting a class or going to a game then invite on of their friends and they can enjoy the experience together.
We’re passionate about the benefits sport can have for girls in later life and we’re on a mission to get more and more girls playing and enjoying sport together.
SistersnSport was created by Victoria with her sister Jennifer. Sport has always been a big part of their lives, shaping their futures and creating endless wonderful opportunities along the way. Through sport they have shared such wonderful bonds with their teammates that can only be likened to that of a sister. So much so that SistersnSport was founded, inspiring girls to play sport like they had both been inspired.It was here that Sisters n Sport was born. For further information, visit www.sistersnsport.com