Girls and School Sports


Do you think girls’ opportunities to play school sports are limited? Do boys’ teams get more support? A survey says just that. While the new school year means school intramural and competitive teams will be soon back in action, not everybody thinks there’s a level playing field.

In fact, 72 per cent of girls say they are unable to participate to their full potential in high school athletics. Their participation is limited because they can’t afford athletic participation fees, uniforms or transportation, according to research by Playtex® Sport®.

In May 2016, the brand commissioned Triple Scoop Premium Market Research to survey Canadian women about their high school sports experience. Findings are based on data collected from 701 females aged 13-24. Not only do nearly three quarters of these young women say high school sports opportunities are limited, the research also reveals they think boys’ teams often get more support.

This matters for a lot of reasons: Involvement in regular physical activity is good for girls’ self esteem, confidence, emotional well-being and physical health. In the long term, an inactive lifestyle is associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes, premature death, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, stroke, depression and colon cancer.

But, as the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) notes, only eight per cent of girls meet the recommendations of the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, compared to 14 per cent of boys. And only two per cent of girls aged 12 to 17 are getting enough physical activity.

According to Sport for Life, a national not-for-profit organization, “Significant gender differences persist in participation and leadership in the Canadian sport and physical activity system. Women and girls typically report more barriers to sport and physical activity participation across the lifespan than men and boys, affecting their involvement as participants, athletes, coaches, officials and leaders.”

It’s something we need to be aware of as parents and mothers. We set the example. A mom’s participation in sport increases the rate of her child’s participation by 22 per cent, CAAWS mentions.

Right now, to encourage girls who want to play, Playtex® Play On® Canada is offering grants for girls’ high school sports teams across Canada. From now until October 31, 2016, grant applications can be submitted at

Two Canadian high schools have already benefited from the program: a girls’ running club at a Nova Scotia school and senior varsity volleyball team in Alberta. A local, Ottawa school team could be next. Meanwhile, as families,  we can get out to the local parks and play ball, go for bike rides, do some fall hiking and sign up for activities ranging from skating to badminton and swimming.



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