Girls ‘less keen on sport after 7’

The Press Association (via the Mail) is reporting a study that suggests girls may become more self-conscious, lose confidence and stop playing sport after the age of seven…

It suggests that at this point, young girls already dislike being outside and cold and are starting to express reservations about taking part because they feel they are not good enough.

The small-scale study, which involved 38 pupils aged seven and eight, looked at activity levels among pupils and how they feel about sport, body image and self-esteem.

It found that at this age girls are already aware of differences in how they and their male classmates see physical abilities.

“Gender stereotypes are already emerging in relation to sport among these children, with some boys saying they are faster and stronger than girls, and more sporty: ‘Girls are rubbish at football … when they kick the ball it goes like 5cm.’ ‘Men can play more sport than women’,” the study says…

It adds that both the girls and boys questioned still see sport in general positively at this stage.

The study goes on to claim that “some cracks are appearing in girls’ confidence” by the time they are in Year 3…

The study also concluded that despite enjoying PE, many girls surveyed dislike being outside and cold while boys like the extra space. Girls are more likely to lean towards doing swimming, dance, tennis, netball and gymnastics, while boys say they like football, cricket and rugby…

More at: Girls ‘less keen on sport after 7’


This report is from the Equalities Office and although they released their latest Body Image Confidence Report yesterday (which mentions the research) the details do not yet seem to be available. 


What’s the best approach here – tackle the apparent stereotypes and lack of confidence holding girls back or acknowledge the lack of desire from many girls to participate in certain sports – especially perhaps those outdoors in the cold – and find alternative approaches instead?


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  1. The best approach is to THINK!
    OPAL has over 200 primary, infant and junior school clients and we know exactly how to ensure girls get just as much enjoyment out of an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
    Quite simply sport is not for everyone, yet the government obsesses about it to the exclusion of all rational thought.
    30-40% of all children do not like sports yet they are perfectly when happy running around chasing each other, play fighting, building things, climbing trees and engaged in all manner of play experiences.

    This is not rocket science- it has been common practice throughout all of history. Children develop, learn and grow through their play.
    The only difference now is the current misguided nonsense about ‘safety’ and the tunnel vision of the government, which has convinced people that sport is the only option, even though they know from their own childhood that it is not.

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