A gender gap exists in all levels of sports.
Gender discrimination in sports is even more prevalent for girls of color and the LGBTQ+ community.
- Girls and teens from low-income families are participating in sports at significantly lower rates than boys and teens from more affluent backgrounds, with certain sports having greater gender and economic divides than others.
- Girls from lower socio-economic classes and racial/ethnic minorities report reduced levels of physical activity compared to white girls and boys.
- Girls of color are much more likely than their male counterparts to be non-athletes.
- Girls of color are less likely to start sports at an early age. Only 29% of African-American girls and 32% of Hispanic girls start playing sports before age 6, compared to 53% of white girls.
- Members of the LGBTQIA+ community face unique barriers related to facility availability (for example, gender neutral bathrooms and lockers), inclusive language such as being identified with correct names and pronouns, gendered dress codes and team uniforms, and discriminatory school policies for transgender athletes.
There are many barriers to girls’ participation in sports and reasons that girls stop playing sports in adolescence.
Yet, we know sports increase girls’ leadership skills and confidence and benefit girls’ overall health and education.
- According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, teens girls who play sports not only do better in school, but also are more likely to have stronger leadership skills, high self-esteem, stronger relationships and improved physical health. Girls who play sports are:
-23% more likely to get seven hours of sleep
-21% more likely to be successful in school
-13% more likely to graduate from a four-year college
- Sport and physical activity enhance productivity and teamwork, preparing girls today to become role models tomorrow. Active girls are more attentive, retain more of what they learn and do better on tests. They also develop a lasting desire to achieve, earning 10% more income than their inactive peers.
- Reflecting on their own careers, 61% of the women executives held a belief that their personal involvement in sport contributed positively to their career success and advancement.
- The link between female leadership and competitive sports has been well-documented. A 2015 study of 400 female C-suite executives conducted by espnW and EY found a correlation between athletic and business success. More than half of C-suite executives surveyed played sports at the university level. Additionally, 80% of female Fortune 500 executives played competitive sports at one point in their lives.
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