Engaging girls in sport– advice for parents and family

Women and girls report more barriers to sport  participation than men and boys, which affects their involvement and therefore  health. Here are some ways parents can support their daughters in staying involved in a physically active lifestyle.
  1. Invest time to learn about the psycho-social factors influencing women and girls, and how to reduce the barriers affecting their participation and optimal performance. 
    A major barrier for women participating in sport is time. Teaching girls that it’s okay to prioritize physical activity alongside school and family without guilt will put them on the right track.
  2. Start young! Encourage and enable girls to move and express themselves physically through active play and participation in sport and physical activity.

    Consider the toys and games you buy or use and the messages they send, and choose toys and games that promote activity rather than sedentary behavior.

  3. Take both active and supportive roles in female family members’ sport and physical activity involvement by being active together.

    Talk to her about her interests, and listen to her challenges and successes. Provide opportunities to feel supported while participating and developing skills in a variety of sports.

  4. Promote the variety of benefits of involvement in sport and physical activity, including fun, social networks, decreased stress, leadership and travel opportunities, etc.

    Avoid comments about body size and shape, instead, celebrate female family members’ skill, strength and spirit.

  5. Encourage women and female adolescents to become leaders in sport and physical activity, as volunteers, coaches and officials.

    Introduce women and girls to women sport and physical activity leaders in the community. These women are role models for the whole family.

  6. Be a champion for women and girls in your community.

    Consider gender equity in all programming and events. Sport communities need to question whether they have practices that limit women’s and girls’ participation and leadership.

  7. Become part of the Canadian Sport for Life movement.

    To benefit from and contribute to the evolution of programming related to improving sports for women and girls. Read our full guide on Actively Engaging Women and Girls.


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