There have been many barriers facing women and girls in sport in the past. In some predominantly male-dominated sports, women’s teams and clubs are deemed not as worthy as their male counterparts.
However, this is all changing, and there has been a 54% growth of affiliated women and girls football teams in the UK alone, and with support from the FA, these figures are set to increase.
How can you provide a more inclusive experience for women in sport, whether at a mixed-gender or exclusive female club?
Break Down Misconceptions
There is a perceived notion of what a sports club is for those unfamiliar with how these things work. Many women who have previously been part of such clubs, whether exclusively female, co-ed or male-dominated, understand what goes on behind the scenes. But when it comes to successfully starting a female-only sports club, you need to break down the barriers of preconceived ideas and notions to allow anyone who wants to join access regardless of the sport you specialise in.
Women face many barriers and challenges when it comes to accessing sports. Many women find childcare a barrier to being able to be as active as they would like or as involved with a sports team or club. Knowing this and being able to address these issues can help you improve the relationship between members and allow equal access. Fundamentally, you need to know precisely what is stopping women from being part of this community and give them the support they need to enable them to grow and get involved in their sport in a beneficial way for their lifestyle.
Many women feel that sports clubs are automatically focused on the male lifestyle, and accommodations for females are made as a second thought. Create a club or team values that focus on supporting the female mind and body as possible—especially when working with younger girls. A large part of why girls drop out of sports at a young age is how they look and feel when playing games. Focussing on this issue will help foster a love of sport in women of any age. Using an online womens rugby kit designer, for example, to help women feel comfortable in their kit can encourage them to be more active and confident on the pitch.
The more likely you are to be able to accommodate the needs of the individual, the more receptive girls and women will be to pursuing their goals of playing and remaining active members for as long as possible. The rigid structure of clubs and set training and attendances can be limiting and something they cannot commit to regularly. Allowing them to access club features or training on drop in sessions can work well as holding regular meetings to ascertain the best times and practises to the best service team and club members.
While a great many changes have allowed for more women to become active in their chosen sport, the fact remains, there is still much to be done, and club management can do a lot of this at a grassroots level by giving out the support required where and when needed throughout each stage of a playing career.