Georgiy Sekretaryuk
October 15, 2019
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Gender Gap in Sports Participation

Gender Gap in Sports Participation Canada

Women’s health physiotherapy is a unique discipline that has been formulated to address a wide number of physical ailments typically experienced by the female gender. It offers treatment and therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction, pre and postpartum concerns, osteoporosis, osteopenia, fibromyalgia, recovery from breast surgery, and more. While the XX chromosome may be predisposed or more inclined towards certain maladies, there is a major issue that needs to be addressed to help keep women healthier – a lack of participation in sports and related activities. Despite all of the changing perceptions around the female capacity for high-performance athletics, gender disparity is still too large across Canada, and it seems it all begins at a very early age. Below we will take a look at some recent statistics from the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) which can help you identify where you can help close this unfortunate gender gap.

4 Statistics Regarding the Sports Participation Gender Gap in Canada and What You Can Do About It


Only 8% of Female Children Meet Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (CPAG)

Boys are getting much more physical activity than girls. CAAWS data shows that 14% of boys meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. While the child-aged male number is paltry, it’s certainly not as concerning as the 8% found with their female peers. Adoption of a physically active lifestyle must begin at an early age, because even more baffling is the fact that only 2% of adolescent (aged 12-17) females are getting enough physical activity. Data also shows that if a girl does not participate in sports by the age of ten, there is only a 10% chance that she’ll be physically active by the age of 25.

Nip potential of inactivity and poor sports participation in the bud from infant years. The explicit guidelines by age-range are provided here. Learn them and make sure that you and the other women in your circle are getting the appropriate amount of physical activity. Then, together you can inspire the boys to step up their game too.

Only 10% of Teenage Girls Enroll in Optional PE Class

Isn’t PE class supposed to the the one everyone wants to take? It looks like teenage girls don’t think so, with only 1 in 10 opting in for optional physical education at school. A strong focus on academics may be to “blame” but PE class should not be dismissed as a waste of time – and finally the new curriculum in BC and other provinces are coming around in this capacity, focusing less on homework and exams and more on overall adolescent development. If you’re a parent/guardian do your part and ensure that your daughter enrolls in optional physical education courses in addition to traditional academics.

Females Account for Under 40% of Summer Sport

It’s one thing to participate in sports when in a secondary or post secondary school environment where it is more easily accessible through courses, team athletics, and a variety of other programs. But sticking with it through the summer break is just as important to prevent the physical activity version of the seasonal “learning loss”. Females account for just 38% of recreational members and 39% registered members of national summer sport organizations. Remember, health and wellness runs 365 day per year for females just as it does for men, so sports should carry through all four seasons. Don’t take your foot off the gas and instead be sure to join a league (softball, hockey, basketball, etc.) or organize your own casual version with friends, family, coworkers, classmates, or whomever you can encourage to join you in all-season sports.

Young Girl Participation Increases 22% When Mom Leads the Way

There’s hope, and like with most solutions around the home mom is the key ingredient. Data shows that a mother’s participation in sports increases her child’s participation by 22 percent. We even addressed this general topic in our recent article about how physiotherapy can help make you a better parent. So this call goes out to all of the moms (and dads!) out there – no matter how tired you may be after a long day at the office, take 30 minutes or so to take your daughters outdoors or to the local rec-center and engage in physical activity with them. In fact, when any woman adopts a more active lifestyle and kicks-butt on the track, field, court, or arena they inspire the young women in their circle (daughters, goddaughters, nieces, sisters, students, etc.) to do the same. Like it or not, you are a role model – will you be a positive one that helps close the physical activity divide between boys and girls in our nation?


Help us close the gender gap one woman at a time – starting with the person in the mirror. If you live in the Greater Vancouver area contact Absolute PhysioCare today so that we can better prepare you (or a loved one, etc.) to become more active or downright fierce in sports.

Statistical resource: CAAWS 

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