Changing the 11%
The URL has been copied
The URL has been copied
At 15, sport does not feel like a play. It feels rather uncomfortable. Wrongfully designed, sport can actually have a reverse effect; it makes you feel vulnerable. I quit competitive sports because it wasn't fun anymore. It didn't seem to be a safe place.

Most children need sport not to become the world’s best, but to simply win at life.

Only 11% of girls aged 15 perform at least one hour of physical activity daily.

  • (Health behaviour in school-aged children - HBSC, 2013/14)

Too often we believe sport is something destined for a chosen few; the future champions. Its value degrades as we begin to associate it with assumptions such as for the talented only, a weight loss tool, a form of punishment, a money making machine, or the worst, not appropriate for the ladies. Sport becomes a goal-achieving behaviour, leaving out its most essential fraction: simply doing it.

Before any of these, sport is about moving, physically and mentally, regardless of age, gender, region or level.

Girls are less physically active in most countries and most regions.

  • (HBSC, 2013/14)

Fifteen was the age I felt most vulnerable. I quit competitive sports because it wasn't fun anymore. It didn't seem to be a safe place.

Nobody told me there is a level of it where training becomes enjoyment, a recreational level which has nothing to do with competing and measuring. Its sole focus is on being active in a way where joy is found in climbing the mountain, rather than reaching the top.

Women chair only 7% of international sport federations.

  • Johanna Adriaanse for The Conversation

The vulnerability reaches its peak right at the edge of  adolescence. As a fifteen year old girl taking part in sport, you make yourself exposed to issues such as not needed attention from older men, comparison, money issues, cultural obstacles, family history of no sports, all or nothing approach, any kind of abuse...

I believe sport in adolescence is crucial. Participation in physical activity is positively related to academic performance in children. It also affects their well-being, from physical to mental health. Research suggest sport can lead to better self-esteem among adolescent girls. It helps with awareness of what you deserve rather than what you feel: for girls sport is positively related to preventing domestic and drug abuse, eating and other mental disorders, obesity and weight issues...

Though a familiar phrase "sport builds a character" needs to be taken with caution. Fifteen year old girls are not supposed to toughen up; their true nature at this age is to be sensitive but curious.

Physical inactivity imposes economic costs of €80.4 billion per year to the EU-28.

  • The inactivity time bomb, CEBR (Centre for Economics and Business Research)

Continue reading the full article.


Digital communications



Related Articles

Dani Speegle

Dani Speegle to champion women empowerment at first Saudi Arabia Sports Expo

The URL has been copied
Webinar speakers supporting white card campaign

'Using sport as a tool to create an inclusive society'

The URL has been copied
Eight soccer clubs are helping make the 2026 Men's World Cup the most inclusive yet

Common Goal's Play Proud aims to tackle discrimination in football

sportanddev.org Community
The URL has been copied

Inspire Cup: A grassroots tournament committed to girls’ football in India

sportanddev.org Community
The URL has been copied