Several Opportunities Coming for Women and Girls in Sport

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The gender gap is no secret - it exists in workplaces, in schools, in sport, and more - so anything that helps close the gap is a feat.

The last few months have seen an onslaught of action plans from the Ontario government, whether it’s been to cool housing prices or to support minorities.

Now, the province has announced an action plan to improve opportunities for women and girls in sport.

The plan is literally called Advancing Opportunities for Women and Girls in Sport: Ontario’s Action Plan.

According to the province, the new plan aims to give women and girls equal access to opportunities in the sport and recreation sector.

That encompasses increasing the number of women and girls who are athletes, coaches, sport administrators and leaders at schools, universities and communities across the province.

A slightly closer look at the gender gap in sport can be taken through the number of female coaches at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

According to the province, of the 108 Canadian coaches at the 2014 Winter Olympics, only 11 were women.

So, what does this gender gap-reducing plan entail?

The province said in a statement that it plans to establish an advisory group to recommend how to remove barriers and encourage more women and girls to take part in sport and physical activity.

Further, the province wants to initiate a platform where sport organizations can share best practices in recruiting, developing, supporting and retaining women athletes, coaches, sport administrators and officials.

For girls, all before and after school programs will be required to train their staff in diversity and inclusivity. This aims to create a welcoming environment to ensure girls can take part at the same level and frequency as boys.

The province also plans to work with any and all organizations across the province that delivery any kind of amateur sport and recreation to promote 60 minutes of physical activity per day throughout the school day.

Last year, $1.3 million was invested in sport programming for women and girls, and supporting physical literacy education programs.

Benefits of the plan have been outlined as, overall, creating equitable opportunities for women and girls in sport. More specifically, sport can lead to higher self-confidence, better grades, and enhanced leadership and career opportunities for women and girls.

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