Football is not just about goal tallies and revenue figures but also inspiration and style! Sports and other games offer useful lessons about the importance of teamwork, preparation, passion, attitude, definitions of success, dealing with failure and having a sense of humor at the end of the day.
Do You Know the Factors Influencing Girls’ Participation in Sports?By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports two times the rate of boys and there are many factors influence girls sports experience.
- Lack of access.Girls have fewer opportunities in sports more than boys have. Lack of physical education in schools and limited opportunities to play sports in both primary and secondary school mean girls have to look elsewhere for sports –which may not exist or may cost more money. Often there is an additional lack of access to adequate playing facilities near their homes that makes it more difficult for girls to engage in sports. Through sports, girls learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership and confidence.
- Safety and transportation issues.Sports require a place to participate – and for many girls, especially in dense urban environments, that means traveling to facilities through unsafe neighborhoods or lacking any means to get to a good facility miles away. And if there isn’t a safe environment the only option for a girl and her family will be to stay home.
- Social stigma.Despite recent progress, discrimination based on the real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of female athletes persists. Girls in sports may experience bullying, social isolation, negative performance evaluations, or the loss of their starting position. During socially fragile adolescence, the fear of being tagged “gay” is strong enough to push many girls out of the game.
Why they need to stay in:Sports as an asset can be used to foster communication and trust between parents and children.
- Decreased quality of experience.As more girls grow up, the quality level of their sports experience may decline. The facilities are not as good as the boys’ venues and the playing times may not be optimal. The availability of quality, trained coaches may be lacking in communities or these coaches may be more focused on the boys’ programs. Equipment and even uniforms aren’t funded for many girls’ programs at the same levels as boys so their ability to grow and enjoy the sport is diminished. In short, sports just aren’t “fun” any more.
Why they need to stay in:More than three-quarters of working women feel that sports participation helps enhance their self-image.
- Lack of positive role models.Today’s girl society is bombarded with images of external beauty, socialites, not those of confident, strong female athletic role models. To some girls, fitting within the mold that they are constantly told to stay in is more important than standing out. Peer pressure can be hard for girls at any age; when that pressure isn’t offset with strong encouragement to participate in sports and healthy physical activity, the results may lead girls to drop out altogether.