Local initiative is bridging the gender gap in physical activity
Some of the participants in the Girls Active event
With secondary-age girls more likely to experience barriers to participation than boys, their activity is at an all-time low. Local leisure services provider Enbale is aiming to help address this issue through Girls Active, our initiative, supported by The Wimbledon Foundation and delivered in partnership with Wandsworth Council, which aims to halt the drop off rate and keep Wandsworth girls active. Girls Active Day, part of a long term initiative that was due to be completed in 2020 but was halted over the last two years due to Covid-19, is Enable’s way of supporting inactive or disengaged girls in secondary school to find a sport or activity that inspires them and importantly, keeps them engaged.
Research shows that nationally, teen girls lose interest in sport and physical activity over time and that by age 7, girls are already less active than boys. This disparity only widens as they move from childhood into teenage years. The biggest drop-off occurs during the transition from primary to secondary school, with disruption to friendship groups and declining body confidence affecting girls’ participation in PE and sport.*
Initially, when the project began approximately five years ago the it saw funding received from the Wimbledon Foundation to deliver pursuits and the necessary equipment for activities that are not typical of traditional P.E ; like yoga and boxing, as well as support to engage local pupils in its Girls Active days over these years. Schools previously joining include Southfields, Burntwood, Ark Putney and Graveney schools.
This year, back after the lockdown period, at the recent event, Enable welcomed 40 girls from across years 7-10 at Southfields Academy. The day saw Yoga classes provided by Live Karma Yoga, Boxing by Carneys Community and Cheerleading provided by Aaliyah Oliver- Facilities and Community Development officer at Enable.
Here’s what some of the participants had to say;
‘I really enjoyed the boxing session, I haven’t done boxing before and had a good time’
‘The cheerleading was really fun it was different, I liked doing the different lifts and balances’
Harry Gethins, Schools Coaching Coordinator at Enable said, ‘There were a really good variety of different activities not usually accessed. All of the girls were engaged and enjoyed the chance to try out a different sport. The day was very inclusive, refreshing and different to what would usually happen in a school setting.’
“At Enable we are continuing to seek funding and support to continue this important work with girls in our community to build on our success in this area. There is more work to do on bridging the gap between active and inactive children.”
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May 6, 2022