I’ve been incredibly lucky to have sport in my life. I’ve also been lucky to have a really supportive mum (and aunt) who drove me to practises and games, made sure I had the right equipment, nutrition and encouragement. I’ve also always been given the opportunity to play. Where I grew up, there were more sports activities taking place than I had hours in a day. And I had equal opportunity to play. Yet, in so many other places, both in Canada and in the world, this is not the case.
Last week I met some people from the organisation Women Win who work in predominantly developing communities and they have recently started working in the UK. I learned that only at age four do boy and girls get the same amount of physical activity. By age 15 only half as many girls as boys take part in the recommended amount of exercise. This is, of course, due to a plethora of factors including environmental limitations, like a lack of facilities, social factors (particularly prevalent in teenaged girls leaving sport) and the fact that women’s sport receives only 0.5% commercial investment.
Post 2012 Olympics the UK has seen a massive increase in female role models. And there’s also been an increase in media coverage thanks to magazines like the Stylist and their Fairgame campaign, and the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation and their Go Girl campaign. But there is still a massive gap in both participation and representation.
Meeting Women Win was really inspiring as they showed me and lots of other women working in sport the difference that physical activity, in any carnation can make in the lives of girls and women, and how easy it is to get involved.