By Medicine Hat News on March 7, 2018.
A historic announcement was made for women and sport initiatives in the 2018 federal budget.
The budget includes $30 million in funding over three years to see gender equality at all levels of sport by 2035 which includes data and research to better understand why fewer women and girls take part in sports or other physical activity then men and boys.
The funding is also to support national sport organizations to promote a higher rate of participation of women and girls in sport and behind the bench as leaders and coaches.
Why is this so important? In Canada 59 per cent of girls between the ages of three and 17 years participate in sport and only a small proportion (22 per cent) of all girls participate in team sports. Although a majority of girls participate in sport in their early years, many drop out later. As girls reach adulthood, more and more stop playing sports with only 16 per cent of adult women reporting participating in sports. Research also shows that by 10 years of age, if a girl has yet to participate in sports, there is only a 10 per cent chance that she will be physically active as an adult.
As someone that has been active and involved in sport my whole life these stats deeply impact me. Being involved with sport has given me confidence and leadership skills and I am so lucky that I had a mother who was active and a great role model for me. I became involved with Females in Action, Moving and Empowering (FAME) because the importance of girls and women engaged in sport, physical activity and in leadership and coaching roles is so important. As a community collaboration FAME brings people together to share, learn, build capacity and develop a support network to enhance and develop opportunities and to advocate for women and girls in sport and physical activity in Medicine Hat and southeastern Alberta.
Teams, organizations and community associations can take a role to improve female sport participation. One strategy is to provide training and mentorship opportunities for women to advance in leadership roles. Another way is to launch and promote free and low cost community female only sport opportunities such as open houses or try-it days to expose females to new sports in a safe and supportive environment.
One of the programs FAME is currently offering is our Female Coach Mentorship Program (March 19- May 5). There is a lack of female coaches at all levels of sport and we want to help change that! We know there are a lot of moms who may be interested in coaching but are unsure of their skills, or older athletes who are not competing anymore but still want to be involved with sport. Female coaches are needed role models in our community and our female coach mentorship program offers an opportunity for women to:
— Gain support and mentorship from provincial and national level coaches,
— Participate in exercise science sessions including sports nutrition, exercise physiology and sports nutrition,
— Have facilitated discussions and access to resources to support you as a current or future coach.
For more information or to register contact us at email@example.com
It is important that each of us looks at ways we can contribute to making a difference for girls and women in sport. Schedule time for sport, recognizing the importance of sport participation for physical, mental and social health. Help build girls’ confidence in sports by focusing on fundamental movement skills such as kicking, running, jumping, catching and throwing before introducing fundamental sport specific skills. Encourage girls to join and continue to play, coach and officiate a variety of sports from youth into their teens and adulthood. Support elite female athletes by attending and watching events and following athletes on social media. Promote and share female sport news stories that focus on athletic skills, healthy living champions, accomplishments and profiles of positive role models.
To learn more about women and sport in Canada visit the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity at caaws.ca.
To learn more about FAME and how to become involved to advocate and support opportunities for females in sport and physical activity go to famemedicinehat.com.
Kimberlee Brooks is registered dietitian with Alberta Sport Development Centre Southeast and is a Females in Action Moving and Empowering committee member.
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