The Associated Schools (TAS) brings together eight co-educational schools, providing a safe and friendly environment for participation. Our beliefs are that sports participation, at all levels and abilities, makes an important contribution to our community’s health and wellbeing. We welcome all families and are proud to be highly valued by our region, ensuring there are equal opportunities available for both girls and boys.
Despite this, recent international Women’s Sports Foundation research shows that, across the board, girls have fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys.
Some girls willingly disengage with sport once their teenage years set in, as some of the activities they used to enjoy feel childish. Girls are often more susceptible to low confidence and negative body image, think sports are too competitive or perceive a male dominated sports culture. Girls may also label themselves as ‘sporty’ or ‘not sporty’ which can affect their predisposition towards physical activity throughout life.
Why Get Our Girls Involved In Sport?
TAS provides a community built on comradery and participation. We facilitate peer support, opportunities to learn and encourage girls to participate in sport so they can reap the benefits and ensure they feel like valued members of our sporting community.
Getting your daughters involved in sports at a young age is important because it can improve their confidence, fitness, self-image and communication. Sport also helps develop transferrable life skills such as leadership, decision-making, working as a team, sportsmanship and goal setting.
The skills learnt through sport can set your daughter up for life. A joint study between Ernst and Young and ESPNW surveying 400 women in executive positions found that 94% of the female executives were former athletes and 39% of women at management levels played collegiately.
Inspiringly, the United Nations Women’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that “women in sport defy gender stereotypes and social norms, make inspiring role models and show men and women as equals.”
To raise more female athletes, we want more parents encouraging their daughters to give it a go to help them feel more comfortable participating. Show your daughter that physical activity can be fun and motivate her to find something she enjoys. Girls need a positive support system on the sidelines and at home with family and friends to teach them that their athletic achievements are valuable. Sport can be a powerful force to support girls on their journey to becoming happy, healthy and self-assured young women.
How Do We Create Equal Opportunities?
Research from Sport Australia’s AusPlay showed that almost half of girls between 15 – 17 stopped playing club sport and tended to move away from organised sport towards exercise and gym-type activities. In addition, a Victoria University study found that young males, aged 15 – 17 years, are three times more likely than young females to engage in 60 minutes of exercise each day.
Further Sport Australia’s AusPlay research showed that netball, football and basketball are the top three team club sports for female participation. We’re proud to offer these, and much more, so that every girl can find a sport which they enjoy, either individually or as a team. These include:
- Touch Football
Our member schools ensure there is equal access to quality facilities, educational courses, scholarship opportunities and a number of quality sports available for both boys and girls. This ensures sport is inclusive and caters for all students. Creating a connection with sport gives everyone an opportunity to boost their self-esteem and experience moments of pride.
Why Is Social Interaction Through Sport Important?
Girls place huge importance on having supportive people, trusted relationships and ‘safe’ spaces where they feel they can be themselves and ‘fit in’ to a non-judgmental environment.
Peer pressure can be hard for girls at any age. Fear of missing out on time with friends as well as social stigma around being a female athlete can further discourage girls from participating. This can be avoided by providing strong encouragement to participate in sports that value health, fun and socialisation.
Participation in sports and being part of a peer group can make a huge difference to a child’s sporting experience. TAS encourages social interaction through meeting new friends and promoting a sense of community that connects girls with buddies who have similar interests. This team environment is crucial to developing self-esteem, building positive peer interactions and strengthening relationships within groups.
Who Are Positive Female Role Models We Can Turn To?
It’s crucial that female athletes have positive role models and supportive female coaches. Active parents have a positive influence on girls and teenagers so ensure you speak positively about sport and exercise. Parents can also help by watching a range of female sports and celebrating their achievements, regardless of the sport.
Even if girls lose interest in playing sport, watching women’s sports or reading about strong female athletes can have a positive influence by seeing them overcome adversity, achieve goals and lead a team.
We can look to Australian women’s teams such as The Matildas at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, The Opals at the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney and The Diamonds at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022 for inspiration. We also loved hearing that the Australian Tokyo Olympics team consisted of more women than men (53.7%) with women also winning the majority of medals.
It’s an exciting time for girls to participate in sport and we’re proud to be part of the journey!
To inspire the next generation of girls, we encourage you to represent and normalise women in sport, not just as athletes but as coaches, referees, journalists, reporters and commentators. Follow the hashtag #WomenInSport to see female athletes who are defying stereotypes and inspiring role models!
To learn more about what sports are available for girls at your school, we encourage you to enquire directly with your school or visit the TAS website.