GETTING INVOLVED: Year 8 Grafton High School students Melanie Gibson, Makayla Laurie, Paris McLeod and Ebony Tarrant. PHOTO: KIRSTEN KEMP
GETTING INVOLVED: Year 8 Grafton High School students Melanie Gibson, Makayla Laurie, Paris McLeod and Ebony Tarrant. PHOTO: KIRSTEN KEMP

Schools need to reconsider approach to keep girls active

LACK of participation is a common trend among high school girls.

Many girls feel embarrassed, self-conscious, lazy, hopeless or just plain uninterested.

Makayla Laurie from Grafton High School said changes to the structure of PE classes was one way that could help increase participation.

"Some girls get embarrassed by boys and it would be good to have an all-girls class," Makayla said.

"But girls are judgmental too."

But some girls think sport is fun, regardless of the gender. Paris McLeod and Ebony Tarrant said participating in sport provided many benefits.

"Sport gives you something to do and it is fun," Paris said.

"It gets you outside and lets you spend more time with your friends."

Grafton High participated in a research project from 2009 to 2011 that confirmed participation rates of boys compared to girls started to widen significantly after the age of 12.

The research showed that when girls get to about 14 or 15, they stop participating in sport, whether it be at school or outside of school, and those who stop at this age tend never to take it up again.

Although the downward trend in participation for girls in sport is happening, there are alternative options to just letting these girls sit around.

One of these options is same-sex PE classes, so that girls don't have to feel intimidated by boys.

Another is more variety in sports activities.

Melanie Gibson suggested different sports such as aerobics, dancing, hockey and tennis. Other more fun and exciting options were yoga, gymnastics, surfing, circus and netball.

"This could get a lot more girls involved, instead of having them afraid of a game of footy with aggressive boys."



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