Windsor groups working to boost female athletic participation
Published Monday, July 29, 2019 5:25PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, July 30, 2019 11:07AM EDT
Groups in Windsor are working to keep girls in organized sports as dropout rates exceed that of boys.
A study done by sports beverage company Gatorade in 2017 shows girls in the U.S. were dropping out of organized sports one and a half times more frequently than boys by the age of 14 years old.
Paul Bartolo, president of the Windsor Soccer Club, believes the same phenomenon is happening locally as well.
“You’ve seen divisions restructured by ages due to the lack of participation, kids not coming out, girls not coming out to play soccer,” said Bartolo.
Meredith Reynolds finds it all a little perplexing.
“I’ve met so many new people playing sports,” said Reynolds. “At school there’ll barely be enough girls to make a team but, there are always so many boys on the bench because they have such a bigger team.”
Laws Windsor is an organization working to encourage girls to get involved in sports.
The group recently teamed up with the Windsor Diving Club to allow girls to try the sport.
“I like diving for girls because it makes them graceful, teaches them to focus, takes them away from trouble and if they’re really ambitious, the can go far,” said Iona Marinescu, a coach with the Windsor Diving Club.
Lisa Voakes is the education chair with Laws Windsor and believes there are many factors that lead girls to drop out — such as body confidence.
“Girls tend to drop out of physical activity when they reach puberty and so we’re trying to reach them before that happens,” says Voakes. “We try to provide opportunities for girls to just do active things with other girls so that doesn’t have to be a barrier.”
Sports league organizers also see the lack of female role models as a factor likely playing a factor for young girls pursuing athletics.
Bartolo says there’s no doubt female stars in sports can inspire girls to play.
“We’re trying to get more mentorship for female role models,” says Bartolo. “That’s the big thing I try to strive for.”