Everyone has a role to play in making 2017 the most equitable year yet for girls and women in sport and physical activity.

To retweet this:

Ottawa, March 8, 2017 – CAAWS is joined today in Ottawa by The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities and more than 100 female and male leaders in sport and physical activity for an event celebrating International Women’s Day. CAAWS calls on these leaders and all leaders across Canada to #BeBoldForChange for girls and women in 2017.

“CAAWS believes that sport and physical activity are key vehicles for enabling girls and women to reach their full potential in society,” commented Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CAAWS CEO. “Active leadership that prioritizes gender inclusion and equity is critical, as it is through this leadership that girls and women will gain access to the opportunities and benefits that sport and physical activity provide. Everyone has a role to play in creating this outcome.”

While there have been improvements in the culture of sport and physical activity over recent years to make it more welcoming to girls and women, the Women in Sport report released by CAAWS and Canada’s dairy farmers in March 2016 highlighted the disparities that still exist between men and women in the Canadian sport system. Key insights shared in the report include that:

  • Only 16% of adult women compared to 35% of adult men participate in sport;
  • 41% of girls aged 3-17 do not participate in sport;
  • Women are vastly underrepresented in coaching;
  • On average across Canadian National Sport Organizations, less than one-third of board positions are filled by women.

By contrast, reports on the benefits of sport involvement by girls and women consistently present an array of positive social, cultural, health and other outcomes. For instance, EY recently reported on research that shows that girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem, and that 94% of women in the C-suite in the United States played sport, powerfully illustrating just some of the value that sport holds for women.

“Being bold for change means many things to many people,” shared Sandip Lalli, Chair of the CAAWS Board of Directors. “For us at CAAWS being bold means challenging bias and inequality. International Women’s Day is a day of recognition and recommitment to creating an equitable sport and physical activity system. With Canada’s 150th it is especially important to celebrate the cultural significance and common ground sport and physical activity provide for all Canadians.”

To foster gender equity in sport and physical activity in Canada, CAAWS continues to invest in education and tools for decision-makers to use in advancing their leadership on this topic. With the support of Sport Canada, CAAWS launches three new resources this month: Women on Boards presentations for Boards and for women; a Leading With Confidence workshop for the next generation of female leaders; and, a presentation on Canadian Sport for Life/Long-Term Athlete Development considerations for girls and young women. Each of these can be requested for delivery at meetings, conferences and events.

These resources and all other CAAWS materials can be accessed via

The Women in Sport report is available at:

The EY publication is available at:

The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to creating an equitable sport and physical activity system in which girls and women are actively engaged as participants and leaders. CAAWS provides a number of services, programs and resources to a variety of clients, including sport and physical activity organizations, teachers, coaches, athletes, volunteers, health professionals and recreation leaders. Since 1981, CAAWS has worked in close cooperation with government and non-government organizations on activities and initiatives that advocate for positive change for girls and women in sport and physical activity.

Follow @CAAWS on Twitter and on Facebook.

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity
416-901-0484 |