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Six Reasons Girls Drop Out of Sports

05/23/2012, 9:30am MDT
By Women's Sports Foundation

By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys. Through more than 25 years of research, the Women’s Sports Foundation has identified key factors which contribute to this alarming statistic. Read on to learn more about how these factors influence girls’ sport experiences and why they need to stay in the game.

1. Why they drop out:

Lack of access. Girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys have. Lack of physical education in schools and limited opportunities to play sports in both high school and college mean girls have to look elsewhere for sports –which may not exist or may cost more money. Often there is an additional lack of access to adequate playing facilities near their homes that makes it more difficult for girls to engage in sports.

Why they need to stay in:
Through sports, girls learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership and confidence.

2. Why they drop out:

Safety and transportation issues. Sports require a place to participate – and for many girls, especially in dense urban environments, that means traveling to facilities through unsafe neighborhoods or lacking any means to get to a good facility miles away. And if there isn’t a safe option like carpooling with other families, the only option for a girl and her family may be to stay home.

Why they need to stay in:
Girls active in sports during adolescence and young adulthood are 20% less likely to get breast cancer later in life.

3. Why they drop out:

Social stigma. Despite recent progress, discrimination based on the real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of female athletes persists. Girls in sports may experience bullying, social isolation, negative performance evaluations, or the loss of their starting position. During socially fragile adolescence, the fear of being tagged “gay” is strong enough to push many girls out of the game.

Why they need to stay in:
Sports are an asset to American families, fostering communication and trust between parents and children.

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