TORONTO –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– Canadian Women & Sport, in partnership with E-Alliance and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, and thanks to funding from Sport Canada, released a new study – COVID Alert: Pandemic Impact on Girls in Sport – examining the impact of the pandemic on sport participation for Canadian girls aged 6-18.
The key finding from the study shows that 1 in 4 Canadian girls (aged 6-18) who participated in sport at least weekly prior to COVID-19 are not committed to returning to sport once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. If realized, this equates to potentially more than 350,000 Canadian girls not returning to sport.
More than 5,000 Canadian families were surveyed for the study with a focus on girls aged 6-18 who participated in organized sport at least weekly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commitment to return to sport is dramatically lower among girls who participated infrequently compared to those who participated frequently (i.e., at least weekly) before the COVID-19 shutdown.
“As sport starts to return, there is an opportunity to change the minds of girls who are not committed to return. Caregivers, teachers, coaches, and community leaders can each play a part to remove the barriers keeping these young athletes away from sport,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CEO, Canadian Women & Sport. “We must pay attention to what girls want and design programs with their needs at the centre. It’s not too late to turn this tide. The time for action is now.”
“This concerning new data shows that thousands of girls are at risk of missing out on the physical, mental and social benefits of sport as we come out of the pandemic,” said Dr. Ann Pegoraro, Co-Director, E-Alliance. “Girls were already at a disadvantage in sport. This further demonstrates we require proactive and immediate action to create a compelling case for girls to return to sport.”
“Jumpstart’s national reach, and partnerships with community sport organizations and thought leaders like Canadian Women & Sport have the Charity well-positioned to lead the way for girls’ return to sport,” said Scott Fraser, President, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. “Through our Girls in Sport initiative, Individual Child Grants and our Sport Relief Fund financial assistance programs, Jumpstart remains steadfast in its commitment to removing barriers to sport and play.”
The full COVID Alert: Pandemic Impact on Girls in Sport report is available at womenandsport.ca/covid-alert
Key Report Findings
The top five barriers girls reported prior to COVID-19 have been heightened by the pandemic, specifically:
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