International Women’s Day

The Global theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChoosetoChallenge – so let’s challenge inequity and come up with return to sport plans that ensure women and girls get what they need to keep playing.  

The loss of sport and physical activity opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for so many, and we know that women and girls face additional barriers that may stop them from returning. We envision a return to sport where Canadian sport leaders are strategic, courageous, and creative in establishing opportunities for diverse women and girls to play and lead.

What does an equitable and inclusive COVID-19 recovery in sport look like to you?

“Integrated actions regarding equity, diversity and inclusion from Corporate Canada, National Sport Organizations, Academia and Government. All this to enable community programming and coaching that strives for inclusive reach and participation.”

“Return to play development for all competition levels and genders within our sport—giving womxn a safe and encouraging space to grow and perform their best.”

“All individuals regardless of gender should have equitable opportunity to participate fully in physical activity, competition, coaching, administration, leadership, and officiating.”

“Equal sport opportunity, equal pay, more women in leadership and coaching positions.”

“Increased funding to help children return to sport participation especially for family’s hit hard economically by the pandemic, for all sports including those with higher female participation like dance and gymnastics.”

“More funds to groups disadvantaged by current sport systems. More community and public sport infrastructure.”

“We must commit to work together to create a sporting environment that values the participation of all. This is an opportunity for a reset in some aspects.”

“No room for a backward slide. All the emphasis and momentum we were enjoying pre-COVID needs to be sustained despite that inevitable challenge of just how many pain points and areas of need that will need addressing as part of the COVID recovery for Canada’s sport system. And this is particularly true given that sport drop-out rates will likely have accelerated throughout COVID in view of the limits of activities and games all youth athletes had to ensure for the last year. Coming back we need to put our shoulders into the objective of getting and keeping girls in sport.”

I know we will have successfully achieved a gender-equitable return to sport if:

“Women and girls are equitably represented in all forms and levels of sport and physical activity.”

“Visibility and pay for women’s sport at all levels is equal to men.”

“Increased women in leadership roles, equal opportunity for girls and women to participate in sport, equal scholarship and recruitment money.”

“BIPOC girls have access to sport opportunities designed for them.”

“More girls entering and staying in sport through to Grade 12 and beyond is an excellent barometer and in many ways the most important outcome. It is an excellent barometer because if we succeed, it will likely mean that we will have had success in nurturing more women coaches, more women officials and more women administrators. In effect a virtuous circle.”

“Anybody who wants to play has a place to play.”