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Leading Christchurch Girls’ schools Rangi Ruru says developing a lifelong love of sport begins when children are young and schools play a key role in that.
Director of Sport at Rangi Jo Fogarty and Principal Dr Sandra Hastie who both share a huge love of sport, say Ms McFadden’s story highlights how important it is to address barriers to sport for women and girls, as a community, and make changes.
“To read that the drop off in activity for girls begins around the teen years and that they tend to migrate to individual rather than team sports is concerning and certainly not something we see at Rangi,” says Mrs Fogarty. “We tailor an environment and programme specifically for girls. From Year 7- 13 sport is a constant focus of our curriculum and we provide an “extension” programme with SOAR (Supporting Outstanding Athletes at Rangi). Jo Fogarty says, “Activity and sport are inextricably linked with almost everything we do so as the girls mature, it’s a given part of every day,” she says.
Dr Hastie says she isn’t surprised by Geoff Barry, Sport NZ’s General Manager of Community Sport’s comments about barriers to participation including a “fear of failure” and safety.
Barry says “A walk around the block is being increasingly perceived as unsafe. Do we need to get group walks going so you don’t have to walk alone? They are relatively simple things that we need to understand and consider around the gender imbalance.”
Dr Hastie says “I totally agree with Mr Barry and this is something all of society must get involved with – we must all consider the gender imbalance (because it is definitely there) and address it so that girls and women don’t have the barriers they currently do when it comes to safety. We also work hard on the “fear of failure” issue; our girls know they are expected to do their best, we learn from mistakes and we embrace that kind of ethos.”