Foul! Girls want to play football and rugby – so why are schools still not letting them?

‘Teachers need to support girls to pursue sports beyond the age of 14 ...’ Photograph: Posed by models/Getty/Hero Images

‘Teachers need to support girls to pursue sports beyond the age of 14 ...’ Photograph: Posed by models/Getty/Hero Images

Imagine a society where everyone is treated equally and with the same respect, regardless of their gender, their sexuality or their ethnicity. 

 

We’ve taken huge steps towards a fairer society, but the figures tell us we’ve still got a long way to go before our society can be truly equal.  For instance, did you know that women are 47% more likely to suffer severe injuries in car crashes because safety features are designed for men?[1] Or that on average, for every dollar a man earns a woman earns 54 cents?[2]

 

Equality does not just happen.  It must be taught, and expected, from a young age.  There are many ways in which we must show children the importantce of equality and, for us, sport is a key route to this. 

 

That’s why we support Girlguiding’s new campaign to make sport equally accessible for all children.  According to an article about the campaign in the Guardian (below), only 43% of schoolgirls are offered the same sporting options as boys, and girls over the age of 14 are one and a half times more likely to drop out of sports altogether. 

 

We believe in a society where everyone is valued equally.   We cannot achieve this by ourselves, but we can be a part of making it happen.  Please join us.  Help us promote equality and inclusivity by donating today.

References: [1] American Public Health Association [2] World Economic Forum


Foul! Girls want to play football and rugby – so why are schools still not letting them?

By Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff. Originally published in The Guardian.

Playing sport at school, especially if you’re good at it, can be a brilliant escape from the drudgery of academia. But to be a girl who is interested in sport, it turns out, is less of a teamwork-building break from the classroom and more of a battle. According to Girlguiding, which is about to launch a campaign to make more school sports available to girls, only 43% of schoolgirls are offered the same sporting options as boys. Rugby, football and cricket tend only to be offered to boys, while girls tend to get dance, gymnastics and netball.

Being one of just three girls to take PE as a Scottish Standard Grade (GCSE) in my school year meant that, even if I did want to play football, there were never enough girls to make up a team. And playing with the boys? Well, it simply wasn’t allowed. Even if I had forced my way on to the pitch, I doubt the ball would have been passed to me.

There is a lot of work to be done in changing the perception of certain “masculine” sports such as football and rugby. We need to make sure girls feel able to pursue what they are interested in, without being made fun of for doing so and without teachers just assuming a lack of interest. In particular, teachers need to support girls to carry on with sports beyond the age of 14, which is when girls start to drop out of sports at one-and-a-half times the rate boys do.

All sports would benefit from being less gendered. I loved the grace and elegance of dance and gymnastics when I did it in PE, but always felt a faint pang of jealousy watching the boys trudging in from 30 minutes of muddy glory on the pitch, while we suffered carpet burns from doing forward rolls on ripped-up old mats. I imagine some of the boys would probably have much preferred to have been indoors with us, too.

The good news is that women’s football has seen a significant injection of cash ahead of the Women’s World Cup in Paris this June. England might win – which would be fantastic – and Barclays’ sponsorship of the Women’s Super League will see money go back to the grassroots women’s game. Just imagine what these girls will be capable of in a few years’ time.


Holly Lowe