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Keeping teenage girls engaged in sport

Copyrights: Women in Sport

Keeping teenage girls engaged in sport

A new report by Women in Sport, funded by Sport England, has found that girls begin to disengage in sport and exercise in their teenage years.

The report is based on Women in Sport’s most recent survey findings of over 4,000 girls and boys. It aims to understand similarities and differences in attitudes towards sport and physical activity, and the various barriers that are in play for girls.

The report found that 43% of girls disengage from sport and exercise in their teens, compared to boys, indicating a significant missed opportunity. Some of the barriers include:

  • Feeling judged (61%)
  • Lack self-belief (50%)
  • Pressures of schoolwork (41%)
  • Don’t feel safe exercising outside (38%)

There is an urgent need to ensure that adolescent boys and girls lead more active lifestyles, especially in a post-COVID world, where there has been a reported rise in mental health issues and decrease in happiness. The pandemic has amplified existing issues, including anxiety and body image concerns.

The report also found that the age-old narratives that have prevented women from participating in sport historically continue to be prevalent. This includes narratives such as girls are not competitive, sport is not important for girls, girls will never be as good as boys in sport and that sport is not feminine. The harassment and unwanted attention that teenage girls are subject to when exercising and playing sport makes sport a burden instead of being a source of independence and joy.

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Thursday, March 10, 2022 - 08:08

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