What are the factors influencing girls in sports?

Four young girls in red soccer uniforms smiling with one holding a soccer ball

It’s a fact – by 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. But why is this? There are a number of factors that influence girls’ participation in sports. 

In this article, we’ll reveal what those factors are and how we can help to keep more girls playing sports. 

Why girls stop participating in sports 

Let’s kick things off by outlining the factors that play a role in the participation (or lack thereof) of girls in sports. Here are just a few: 

  • Lack of access – The first major reason girls stop participating in sports is simply because they have fewer opportunities. If there aren’t adequate sporting facilities in their local area, or if their school doesn’t offer physical education, girls may not have easy access to sports, which is one of the reasons why many drop out. 
  • Social stigma – Many girls stop participating in sports because they fear repercussions from their peers. Unfortunately discrimination still exists based on the perceived or real sexual orientation of girls who participate in sports. Adolescence is a socially fragile time, and many girls don’t want to risk bullying or social isolation as a result of playing sports. 
  • Experience isn’t as good – Girls’ participation in sports may decline as they get older because their experience isn’t as good as the boys. Less than optimal training times, lack of coach availability or funding for uniforms are just some of the reasons girls don’t get as good a sports experience as the boys. 
  • Cost – Budgets for sports are being slashed in schools, meaning that families need to fork out money for their girls to participate in sports. Travel expenses, sporting equipment, and expensive coaches may not be affordable for lower-income families, meaning that girls aren’t able to participate in sports. 
  • Lack of role-models – Girls aren’t typically exposed to many healthy, athletic female athletes while they’re growing up. Peer pressure can be hard for girls at any age, so if their friends aren’t interested in playing sports, it’s unlikely they will be either. Without strong encouragement and some positive female role models, girls may decide to drop out from sports altogether. 

Why girls need to continue participating in sports

Now let’s take a look at why we should be encouraging our girls to continue participating in sports. Here are a few great reasons, for more click here

  • Life skills – Through participation in sports, girls learn vital life skills such as teamwork, leadership and confidence. 
  • Better health – Did you know that girls who stay active during adolescence are up to 20% less likely to develop breast cancer later in life? Strange, yet true! 
  • Better self-image – Girls who play sports develop more confidence in their bodies which can help to enhance their self-image and the way they feel about themselves. 
  • Role models for younger girls – If more girls see other girls participating in sports, they’re more likely to become inspired to get out on the field themselves. 

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