Tibtom · 21/06/2021 15:16
Once girls reach their teens they disproportionately drop sport. How can we encourage physical fitness in girls, especially in light of lack of changing facilities that respect a teenage girls acute need for privacy and dignity, or the lack of fair competition including any chance of success at higher leves?
MidsomerMurmurs · 21/06/2021 15:25
That is an excellent set of questions and they highlight several definitely feminist issues.
I have some ideas but, strangely, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post them on the feminism chat board.
sanluca · 21/06/2021 15:26
Lots of things. By making sure they have a level playing field. By not making them compete in mixed sports. By taking into
account periods will impact girls performance. By not assuming girls don't want to play competitive sports or, my pet peeve, assume all they want to do is gymanstics.
Sometimes it is the small things that will make it appealing.
334bu · 21/06/2021 15:29
Encouraging girls to exercise is always going to be an uphill battle, especially in a society which often considers female sport to be a bit of a joke.
Zero tolerance of harassment would help, especially if we are going to encourage female runners, cyclists etc. It isn't fun having to train while continually being harassed by passers by.It is of little surprise that many women and girls exclude themselves from team sports and concentrate on individual activities like yoga/Pilates/Zumba, done inside,primarily with other women
Obviously sports associations are also going to have to get their heads out of the sand and rescind the ridiculous rules which allow non females to compete at the highest levels. Allowing non females to take places in female elite and professional sport will turn many women away as they will not be able to compete.with these people's athletically superior physique.
Beowulfa · 21/06/2021 15:30
You have to really REALLY like a sport to carry on with it once periods start. And some sports are a pretty much a non-starter if you don't like using tampons (swimming/gymnastics).
I don't do anything in adult life that I associate with school PE lessons. That includes wearing trainers/tracksuit bottoms, getting undressed outside of a cubicle, team games and being shouted at by someone with a whistle.
And yes, the insistence that women's sport must be inclusive (of the group of people that don't have to worry about periods) can't help.
MotherOffCod · 21/06/2021 15:33
Sexist harassment is a big issue, and that goes for adult women too of course.
Boob support - changing bodies mean it’s tricky and can be expensive to provide properly fitting support bras for high impact sport.
“Traditional” boys and girls sport is also a problem. My girl is a footballer and whilst I’m glad she’s allowed to play at school and in her club (I wasn’t, at all) I’m gutted about the volume and persistence of the “girls don’t play footy” narrative.
Melroses · 21/06/2021 15:37
I went to an old fashioned school that had separate classes for PE and games (also for 'housecraft' and woodwork though )
After 4 years of teaching us various sports, in the final year the teacher let us do what we wanted. We went swimming, played badminton and the sporty ones in the hockey team etc did that. Not everyone wants to be in a school sports team, but it is fun to have the option of enjoying yourself.
I do think they could teach more about activity for a healthy life these days. Teachers have much better PE education.
AssassinatedBeauty · 21/06/2021 15:47
PE was basically just totally humiliating from start to finish when I was at school. Communal changing rooms was the first issue, followed by stupid PE outfits seemingly designed to embarrass and reveal as much as possible. Then having to troop along past classrooms of boys leering and shouting, then being shouted at by unpleasant women with whistles. A heavy focus on team sports, getting on the school team, winning sports events if on the school team etc etc.
PE at school should be about personal fitness and health, and personal performance improvements whether in a team setting or in individual sports. It should also be about trying new sports/activities in an environment that is tolerant and inclusive of those who just aren't sporty or who have additional needs.
Dinosauratemydaffodils · 21/06/2021 15:50
Splitting individual sports from the start of school. It was dc1's first sports day recently, each year had a male and female champion. If they hadn't split it, boys would have won everything from p1 onwards (I'm in Scotland). We competed against the class in primary and that was really disheartening from around 9 or so.
Society needs to take adult female sport seriously too. Role models matter.
Expose them to various sports. When I was at school it was hockey, basketball, cross country and athletics. Most girls hated all four.
Review kits. I went to school on a British army base, I'm sure you can all imagine how horrendous having to wear gym knickers with your t-shirt tucked in surrounded by squaddies was.
Single sex options. I went through puberty on the early side and ignoring the assholes patrolling the pitches, my favourite games lesson was hockey when the boys were at the side of the base playing rugby.
Start them early and set examples as parents. My dad took me running as a 5 year old and that helped a lot as a foundation. He also ran marathons for fun which encouraged me.
backinthebox · 21/06/2021 15:58
DH coaches girls’ cricket for the town club, because our DD is keen to play. He was gobsmacked to discover that at the local secondary school there are no team sports on offer in PE lesson at all for girls in the summer term. How are girls to learn to enjoy team sports when they don’t even do them in school? Boys play cricket in PE, girls do dance and athletics. It’s not a fair approach. It all goes back to the ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ effect.
Tibtom · 21/06/2021 16:39
I know friends who never learnt to swim because their swimming venue had mixed sex cubicles which boys peered over (and such venues have 18 time risk of assault). But lobby groups are insisting my daughter must get changed in front of boys in school's communual changing rooms, or men in community communual changing rooms. How can we encourage sport keep our daughters safe and able to keep their boundaries and still take part in sport? Or are girls to be confined to the home with all the associated increased risks to their health?
newnortherner111 · 21/06/2021 16:46
A range of sports. Taking away things such as gym knickers which put young women off.
YellowFish12 · 21/06/2021 16:46
I think it would help if teenage girls could wear clothes they are comfortable with for sport/PE - many girls hate having to wear skimpy skirts and aren’t allowed to train to compete in leggings/joggers.
Lots of girls at school didn’t like getting sweaty or muddy so didn’t try during lessons - we didn’t have appropriate shower facilities or time to use them.
YellowFish12 · 21/06/2021 16:47
Something around making sport cool and being fit and strong and loving you body for what it, can do, not what it looks like? Like the ‘this girl can’ campaign?
MoonlightApple · 21/06/2021 16:51
The PE clothes we had to wear at school were really off putting especially when on our period. Also running around and getting sweaty for fun is always seen as a boys thing. Girls can only exercise to lose weight!
There’s also the wider issues of less female role models in sport and the utter outrage of people who are not women being allowed to compete in women’s sport like it’s some kind of also-ran category
Helleofabore · 21/06/2021 17:06
My teen got to the age now where they are close to having to play with adults. Safety will be an issue here on in for their contact sport as they enter the adult teams. The fact that there already was transgirls playing against the team my teen belonged too was a warning that the sport's policy was to allow this. You could definitely tell the difference in approach to playing, strength and quickness.
So, safety concerns will mean that that my teen will stop playing now.
VikingVolva · 21/06/2021 17:16
Will your teen take up other sports though?
I think one part of the issue is that schools tend to offer only a narrow range of sports, and other than athletics it's nearly all team sports. Young people don't necessarily get much opportunity to try out other stuff.
I think it may be easier for boys, except those who actively dislike football. There are different sets of expectations about what boys will do .
I also hate the casual sexism of schools labelling a sport 'cricket' and 'girls cricket' and think the default male is offputting.
And I do wonder if playing less competitively would be a good think. Some (outstanding) football training academies do this - the score in matches is simply not recorded and comments to players are only ever positive and the thing that is most rewarded is effort (and achievement only in the sense of the mastery of skills). I think this sort of approach is more likely to foster enjoyment of sport, rather than sorting sheep from goats (getting competitive squads sorted out, and by omission leaving everyone else with a label of unsporty)
Tibtom · 21/06/2021 17:17
Without woman's sports as something girls can look at for role models and something to aspire to how can we encourage even keen girls? What are we saying to them? That you put in all this effort and train but you can only compete in mixed sex competitions so will always lose (and in some sports potentially lose your life by being put up against men).
Whatwouldscullydo · 21/06/2021 17:25
Girls need a wider range of sport, a.level playing field , to be able to wear clothes that are comfortable and for equal investment money , time, and expertise wise.
Oh and not to he used to " sell" a school. In a "oh look we set up a girls team aren't we great" girls aren't there to tick a box for you. Why wasn't there a girls team before you could plug it to ofsted.
334bu · 21/06/2021 17:25
Are there any women's sports left?
Strictly speaking no , as most sport associations follow IOC rules regarding inclusion of male athletes who identify as women in the female category.
334bu · 21/06/2021 17:31
Much of the dislike of pe in schools is because it is pushed into the timetable and the result is students returning to class all hot and bothered. Moreover, mixed classes don't help as many girls are hyper sensitive about their changing bodies, not helped of course by teenage boys' behaviour, behaviour which is often not challenged by the school.
Better timetabling and a zero tolerance attitude to sexual harassment could help encourage girls to be more active.
Melroses · 21/06/2021 17:33
Most young girls I have known have done who excel at sport have done it outside of school because their parents are interested.
The same with music.
You would think schools could get together to provide quality training for those that excel. Larger schools were supposed to make this sort of thing more cost effective, but it would seem they don't.
Dinosauratemydaffodils · 21/06/2021 17:34
Much of the dislike of pe in schools is because it is pushed into the timetable and the result is students returning to class all hot and bothered
We got 30 minutes to shower and change after games. I think that made a huge difference but I doubt if most schools have showers. Putting it at the end of the day would help on the hot and sweaty front.
Helleofabore · 21/06/2021 17:36
No. They are no longer interested in participating in another sport.
MrsWooster · 21/06/2021 17:39
Single sex sports, so girls who enjoy competition aren’t immediately beaten by male bodies.
Role models of successful sweaty girls and women (that sounds suss, but you know what I mean). Remove the default setting whereby women exist only as the sexualised objects of the male gaze.
To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.