Featured Article - March

Featured Article

Girls and Women in Sports Day

Written by Martin Kengo

The Centre for Student Engagement, in partnership with the Department of Recreation, Athletics & Wellness and Girl Guides of Canada hosted its first Girls and Women in Sports Day on Saturday, March 2nd at the Recreation, Athletics & Wellness Centre at UTM. The event brought together over 40 girls aged 12-16 years from across Peel Region to the UTM campus for an afternoon of activities to engage, inspire and motivate young girls participate in sports and to change the rules of the game!


The event, organized by Shanza Ayub, Access and Outreach Assistant at the Centre for Student and Brittany Tierney, Supervisor, Varsity & Intramural Sport at the Department of Recreation, Athletics & Wellness at UTM brings together UTM athletes, students and girls to highlight the importance of equal representation of women in sports. The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) reports that female participation in sport significantly drops in adolescence, as young girls begin undervaluing and underestimating their capacity for competency in physical activity. By the time they get to post-secondary schooling, most women have stopped playing sport altogether. However, what research shows is that, overall, female athletes have a significantly higher level of self-esteem than female non-athletes, meaning women who participate in sport feel better about themselves & are more confident to meet new challenges. The Girls and Women in Sports Day ensures there’s a part to play for everyone, on and off the field! That’s pretty awesome!


Featuring dodgeball, archery, soccer, basketball and various other sport drill stations, as well as a series of reflective and thought-provoking conversations, young girls will explore the perceptions of female empowerment, teamwork and media representation of women in the game.


 “We aim to change the conversation about women in sport, so that young girls feel equally respected, valued and involved in playing recreational and competitive sports. It’s about realizing that no matter your age, size, ability and skill level, there are ways to get in the game.  It’s also about removing barriers that young girls face in participating in sports. Women in Sports Day bring together the collective aim of the university and Girl Guides Canada to ensure that our young girls are on an even playing field and are respected in the game. Having that support is amazing for a variety of reasons, mainly living healthier lives, but also making new friends and importantly, building confidence in your own abilities that’s transferable into adulthood. That’s what the standard should be” said Shanza.


As part of the Centre for Student Engagements’ Access and Outreach initiatives, this event aims to encourage young girls pursing post-secondary education to see sports as a complementary part of the academic experience with multiple benefits. “We are committed to engaging our current students and staff to create opportunities like this that facilitate greater dialogue on what it means to attend university and also promote gender equality through our female athletes and student champions. Our goal is to promote positive conversations, influence attitudes, and change behaviour to help make our university more inclusive and diverse. This in turn leads to advancing gender parity in the sporting arena and beyond” said Martin Kengo, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Centre for Student Engagement.


Women in Sports Group Photo

Women in Sports Photo

Women in Sports group photo