According to the Women’s Sport Foundation: by the age of 14, girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys. The foundation identified several key factors behind this alarming statistic.
Social stigmas and issues of safety are severe hindrances to keeping young girls involved in physical activity.
There is also a huge gap in opportunities across genders. This problem begins in schools, where there are less chances for girls to be involved in team sport.
When they search elsewhere for this infrastructure, they often discover it’s too costly. If it even exists in the first place. Involvement in sport comes with a variety of health benefits, both mental and physical. This divide in accessibility needs to be eradicated.
To help tackle this issue, non-profit organisation Girls United has partnered with Nike. Together, they have launched a new initiative across London primary schools.
Love the Game aims to give girls, regardless of their background, a chance to play and fall in love with football. Through playing the sport, they will develop active lifestyles and feel empowered beyond the pitch.Embed from Getty Images
Equality is taught on the playground
Romina Calatayud, Girls United Founder and CEO, says: “Building a gender equal society on and off the pitch goes beyond inviting girls to play football. It is about creating spaces where they feel comfortable to develop, to try something new and be themselves.”
Love the Game is a testament to the incredible work Girls United continue to do. Bespoke programmes like this are what your donations are supporting.
The Love the Game programme includes weekly sessions, game days and workshops. By going into the schools themselves, Girls United are ensuring no girl misses out on the opportunity to get involved.
“We are looking forward to partnering with Nike. To inspire more girls to love the game on their playgrounds and change the game in their communities,” Calatayud states.
Girls United’s newest project has earnt the backing of one of the England National Team’s biggest names. Arsenal legend Jordan Nobbs has thrown her support behind Love the Game by becoming an official ambassador.
“I’m excited to support [Girls United’s] new programme that is giving girls the opportunity to play football in primary schools across London,” Nobbs said. “We are developing a love for sport that will help to build confidence, life skills and healthy lifestyles so that girls can succeed on and off the pitch.”
Extending opportunities beyond schools
Love the Game goes beyond the playground though. Girls United’s work will also see the creation of a primary school girls league and game day events. Additionally, they have established links with satellite clubs. Meaning girls can continue their football journey long after the school day is over.Embed from Getty Images
Girls United and Nike have joined forces due to a shared belief. That football can create meaningful change in society.
“Girls are made to play,” Dan Burrows, Nike’s Senior Director of Social and Community Impact says. “But they face extraordinary cultural, social and economic barriers.”
Together, they hope to break down cultural and socio-economic barriers, giving girls access to sport in a way they may have never believed possible.