About On the Move

On the Move is a national initiative designed to increase the opportunities for inactive girls and young women (ages 9-18) to participate and lead in sport and physical activity. It does this in two ways:

  1. On the Move is an innovative programming concept to help practitioners increase girls’ and women’s physical activity through the creation of fun-filled, supportive, female-only, recreational sport and physical activity programs. Based on the experiences of On the Move programs across Canada, the user-friendly On the Move Handbook, the initiative’s foundation document, discusses the issues and barriers that girls and women face in their participation, and provides information about program design and implementation, leadership, promotion, and building community support.

  2. On the Move is also a national network of practitioners involved in female-only programming, and individuals and organizations concerned with the health and well being of girls and women. The network is a resource for information about the importance of increasing girls’ and women’s participation, sharing research, events and program successes and challenges.

On the Move is based on the belief that there is a sector of the population missing out on recreational opportunities due to various overt and covert barriers. Many studies have shown that girls and young women understand the importance of physical activity to their health and want to increase their participation (cf. Kippen, 1999; Smale & Shaw, 1993). That girls’ and young women’s participation remains low suggests that social and systemic barriers (e.g. the perpetuation of stereotypes surrounding female participation in sport, prioritization of other pursuits, an overemphasis on competition, limited choices and opportunities, lack of opportunities to build basic skills) are affecting their involvement (Fenton, Frisby & Luke, 1999; Fenton, Kopelow, Vivani & Millar, 2000; Humbert, 1995).

The underlying premise of On the Move is to work towards attaining gender equity in sport and physical activity. Gender equity means providing girls and young women with access to a full range of opportunities and choices that meet their needs and enable them to achieve the social, psychological and physical benefits possible through sport and physical activity. Therefore, On the Move works at the organizational and behavioural levels to address barriers and create positive environments where girls and young women can make positive choices and build a foundation for active living.

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity
970 Queen Street East,
PO Box 98162
Toronto, Ontario M4M 1J0
Tel: 416-901-0484


CAAWS appreciates the financial support of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian Heritage, Sport Canada