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How Can We Encourage Our Young Girls To Love Sport?

How Can We Encourage Our Young Girls To Love Sport?

There's nothing like the camaraderie, life skills and friendships that develop by taking part in sport from a young age. For those lucky enough to have an interest in sports, it will stand with them through time, but what about those that have little or no interest, or who lose interest at a certain age?

In a study conducted by Liberty Insurance ahead of the launch of their ambassador programme, it was revealed that 74% of young women (aged 17-24) have little or no interest in sport.

Read More: Family Exercise Ideas

An alarming number to say the least, but not surprising when the study also revealed that almost three-quarters (73%) of Irish people have not attended a major women’s sporting event in the last year, or that over half (55%) agree that there is not enough coverage of female sports on television in Ireland.

The numbers show that there is not enough being done currently to highlight women's sport, or to encourage young women to take part. That's where the campaign Support Her Sport comes in. #SupportHerSport

With Liberty Insurance strongly backing the campaign to support the promotion of women in sport, advancing the cause of female athletes, they unveiled their fantastic four ambassadors this week. A panel discussion was held with Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy, as well as two-time Olympic pentathlon athlete Natalya Coyle, former Irish rugby player and WRWC 2017 ambassador Fiona Coghlan, and camogie all-star Mags D’Arcy.

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Commenting on the day, Fiona, who is also a secondary school teacher said that it was really important for parents to be encouraging and to give children the time and opportunity to try all sorts of sports and activities until they find one they enjoy. "Schools have limited resources and can't offer every sport, so that's where parents need to try and accommodate", she said.

Read More: Should Your Little One Use A Mouthguard For Sport?

Other key findings from the study include:

  • 24% of women who don’t exercise would like to do more sports but say they don’t know how to get involved.
  • 94% of women who play team sports agree it plays a big role in their lives.
  • 68% of people would like to see more women in coaching roles across women’s sport in Ireland.
  • 43% are interested in the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
  • Over 25% of people attended a Camogie or Ladies Gaelic Football Championship match in the last year.
  • 35% of women 25-34 not involved in team sports believe they are too old to participate.
  • TV viewership for male v female rugby last year was 41% versus 13%.
  • TV viewership for hurling v camogie last year was 26% versus 6%.

Commenting ahead of the event; Deirdre Ashe, Director of Personal Lines at Liberty Insurance, said:

“We’re delighted to be sharing these results today and shining a light on the area of women in sport in Ireland. Significant progress has been made over the last 18 months and the improvement in key markers like participation is encouraging.

"Equally, there is still a great deal to be done in terms of getting more women involved at a grassroots level in local clubs and teams. We are calling on all policy makers to take notice and drive change. Parents too have an important role to play in getting their children, and in particular, their daughters, to take up and support sport.

"We are privileged to have four wonderful ambassadors and role models to make our voice louder. Supporting the promotion of women in sport, advancing the cause of female athletes, and assisting in their preparation for participation on the national and international stage, be it in a sporting or leadership capacity, is important and aligns with our brand proposition of Insurance the Way it Should Be".

So what do you think? Did you lose interest in sport as you grew up, or do you see a difference in how your sons and daughters view sport? And do you think it's important that we encourage more girls and women to have an interest in sport? We'd love to hear!

Read Next: How To Instil Your Kids With A Love Of Nature


About the Author

Editor of eumom.ie, Mairéad Cahalan is a creator of content, a lover of music, red wine and coffee, and a part-time wedding singer! Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud and LinkedIn.

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