This is part two of three in a series will examine CAAWS and the Fuelling Participation study in detail.
This post will examine the methodology, data and findings. We have also linked the Infographic about the study.
How did the study work and what was the methodology?
In order to describe the landscape of Canadian girls and women in sport, the researchers used primary and secondary sources to identify and articulate the numerous hurdles that girls and women face in sport participation and leadership.
A primary survey of Canadian sport leaders added important context and helped define a roadmap to improve the state of Canadian girls and women’s sport participation.
Secondary research included a review of over 75 academic articles, 25 industry reports, as well as an analysis of: media data, National Sport Organizations’s annual reports, sport stakeholder surveys and Census data. A review of traditional and new media, including television, national print media and event viewership/attendance added data about the attention and exposure of women’s sport in Canada.
What data was used?
To help contextualize and add to the secondary analysis, the researchers initiated a bilingual online survey that was broadly distributed to a network of female sport leaders. Responses, in English and French, were received from 657 female sport leaders with wide-ranging experience in contact and non-contact sports across Canada, in roles as athletes, officials, coaches, board members and administrators from the grassroots, high-performance and professional sport world. Quantitative analysis of the survey results, via the statistical software (SPSS), helped the researchers identify trends, relationships and comparisons among variables.
What were some the findings?
1. Despite the wide-ranging evidence of the benefits of sport, the decision for girls to play sport, and continue playing, is frequently influenced by social pressures from parents, guardians and peers. Specifically, peer influence, lack of social support, encouragement, positive role models, self-confidence and money are the top reasons why adolescent girls say they stop participating in sport. Sadly, even though sport has been found to bring social benefits, for many girls the social pressure to drop out of sports can outweigh the encouragement many girls are getting.
2. Increased support is imperative in getting girls to play. Looking to role models, such as female athletes, can help demonstrate to girls that success in sports is attainable, and can provide girls the confidence and determination they need as they seek to overcome these hurdles. Female sport leaders noted a lack of inspirational role models for girls, and an overall lack of social acceptance of women/girl sport. Female role models are important, but the encouragement of girls in sport needs to come from both females and males.
3. A female sport leader emphasized that coaches, both female and male, play a huge role in creating a welcoming and safe place for girls. Coaches who understand emotional, psychosocial, physical and hormonal changes that girls are experiencing can be instrumental in retaining girls in sports. As one female sport leader described, “my biggest concern is the lack of attention on male coaches” who can be key supporters of positive sport experiences for girls. By fostering beliefs about the benefits and importance of sport, role models and coaches, both female and male, may help inspire girls to continue participating in sport beyond high school.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading.
Stand Out Sports
1. "Women in Sport: Fuelling A Lifetime Of Participation" [Study]. March 7, 2016