Youth Sport Trust Chair Baroness Sue Campbell speaks about International Women's Day, and the work the Youth Sport Trust does to inspire girls:
Saturday 8 March marks International Women's Day - a global celebration of the social, political and economic achievements of women. This year's event features a call for political leaders, policy makers and media commentators around the world to strive for equality, and to keep challenging the status quo for women and girls.
At the Youth Sport Trust we are committed to challenging the status quo for girls in PE and school sport. Despite improvements in provision, research shows that many girls continue to feel disengaged by PE and sport, with those 'less active' girls in particular likely to feel that PE and sport simply aren't for them.
If left unchallenged, such perceptions can be extremely damaging for girls' development - a recent survey found that, by age 14, only around 10 per cent of girls are achieving the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Therefore, one of the Trust's key priorities is to work with schools across the country to find new ways of engaging girls in sporting activity, and one of the most innovative ways in we've done this is through our Girls Active initiative.
Girls Active gives girls themselves a central role in formulating the content of PE and school sport provision. It provides schools with dedicated resources to help teachers and their female pupils work together to increase girl's participation. Crucially, the programme also recognises that girls themselves are uniquely positioned to 'sell' PE and school sport to their peers. It supports girls to act as role models and change perceptions of sport amongst their fellow pupils.
The use of role models to inspire young people to get involved in sport is something the Youth Sport Trust has long been passionate about. We work with over 80 athlete mentors - half of whom are women - to inspire young people into sport. The athletes come from a variety of sporting backgrounds and include figures such as England Rugby international Maggie Alphonsi and our ambassadors, Olympians Denise Lewis and Gail Emms. Through the year, they visit hundreds of schools and share their inspirational stories with thousands of young people.
The theme for International Women's Day 2014 is Inspiring Change; at the Youth Sport Trust we are committed to inspiring all girls to get involved in PE and school sport, and to helping them build the foundations for lifelong involvement in sporting activity.