This Sunday (8 March) countries across the world will mark International Women's Day in what will be a special opportunity to celebrate women's achievements and provide a call to action to tackle the gender inequalities that still persist worldwide.
For the Youth Sport Trust, International Women's Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight the barriers that women and girls face in relation to sport and physical activity. Statistics show that 2 million more men than women play sport regularly in the UK, with only 16% of girls age 5-15 meeting the minimum recommended guidelines for physical activity.
We know that a bad experience of PE at school can put girls off of sport and activity for life. During adolescence, girls consistently suffer from lower self esteem than boys, particularly regarding their appearance and physical abilities. Taking part in PE lessons that do not meet their needs means it's little surprise that few to go on to take part in sport or activity regularly during their teenage or adult years.
To tackle this problem head on, the Youth Sport Trust have developed Girls Active, an innovative programme designed to put girls centre stage. It allows them to design their own PE lessons and work with their teachers to increase participation. Crucially, the programme recognises that girls themselves are uniquely positioned to 'sell' PE and school sport to their friends and peers and supports girls to act as role models amongst their fellow pupils.
Girls Active has achieved outstanding results: The number of girls who look forward to PE lessons nearly doubled and girls who are happy with the way their body looks more than doubled from 25% to 56%.
Building on this success, the Youth Sport Trust is hosting our first ever 'Girls Active Camp' from March 27-29 at Loughborough University. The 165 girls attending the 3 day camp will have the chance to work together to explore what stops them enjoying PE in their school, while learning how to use their leadership skills to create change within their own environments.
The theme of International Women's Day this year is 'Make It Happen' and that's exactly what the Youth Sport Trust are doing with Girls Active; empowering girls to inspire and motivate other females to participate, lead and actively volunteer in sport.
To find out more about the Girls Active Camp please click here