About the Program

In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced the following action and target under its plan for Reducing Poverty and Improving Health and Well-Being: Moving towards an inclusive sport system by setting a target to achieve gender parity in sport by 2035 and increasing funding to support data and research, innovative practices to promote female participation in sport and provide support to national sports organizations to support the greater inclusion of women and girls in all facets of sports.

Thanks to funding from the Government of Canada – Sport Canada and Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), CPRA has supported this goal by implementing a number of initiatives, informed by best practices and evidence, to increase the participation and retention of women and girls in recreational sport in Canada.

As part of its commitment to the Government of Canada’s 2035 goal and its desire to support a feminist response and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, through systemic change, CPRA:

  • Delivered workshops focused on girls aged 9-15, new mothers (prenatal and post-partum women), women aged 55+ and girls, women and non-binary individuals with intersecting identities
  • Delivered workshops that focused on building capacity including creating a strong culture and shared commitment to gender equity, creative community engagement, facility design and evaluation outcomes.
  • Scaled-up the HIGH FIVE Sport program
  • Offered a community grants program
  • Created a toolkit to optimize facility use and design

With our four-year project now complete, we hope you continue to benefit from these tools and resources as you strive to contribute to Canada’s 2035 gender equity goal.

The Issue

Participating in recreation and sport improves mental, physical, and social health; increases social connections, improves confidence, self-esteem and a healthy body image, improves sport and physical skills, provides an opportunity to develop a number of life skills and is fun! However,

  • 50% of girls are not participating in sport by the time they reach adolescence. (Source: The Rally Report 2022, A Call for Better, Safter Sport for Girls)
  • A similar number of boys and girls start out in sport, but more boys stay involved in sport through to late adolescence, and across the lifespan. In fact, 1 in 3 girls drop out of sport vs. 1 in 10 boys.
  • Factors that prevent girls from participating include low confidence, negative body image, poor perceptions of belonging and feeling unwelcome (Source: The Rally Report, Canadian Women and Sport, June 2020)
  • Currently 1 in 3 girls, aged 13-18 years, currently engaged in sport are unsure if they will continue to participate (Source: The Rally Report 2022, A Call for Better, Safter Sport for Girls)
  • Women tend to be less physically active than men. 59% of men (aged 18 years or older) report getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week compared to 50% of some (same age) (Source: Statistics Canada, CCHS, Table 13-10-0096-01 Health characteristics, annual estimates, 2018.)
  • Men (36%) are more likely to have participated in sport within the year compared to 19% of women. Sport participation among women decreased with increasing age, and the lowest rates of sport participation were found in older women, from 40% among 18-24 year-olds to 10% among women over 65 years. (Source: CFLRI, aggregated results from the 2019-2021 Physical Activity Monitor)
  • Girls, women and gender diverse people drop out of sport and recreation due to fear of judgement, fear of ability, appearance in front of others and reprisal from prioritizing themselves. Females in 120 countries have a fear of judgement in common. (Source: Literature and research review, Sport England)

The Toolkit

CPRA has designed the Gender Equity in Recreational Sport: Toolkit for Optimizing Facility Use to address the issues of facility use and design, and help you determine how and where to focus your efforts on the path to gender equity in recreational sport.

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The High Five Program

HIGH FIVE® is Canada’s quality standard for recreation and leisure programs. It was founded in 2001 by Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO) as a national standard for children’s recreation programs.

Via this project, CPRA supported the enhancement of the HIGH FIVE program, and in partnership with Parks and Recreation Ontario, developed four new training modules to accompany the HIGH FIVE Sport program. One for each target population.

Thanks to these additional training opportunities, Caring Leaders will be better able to deliver girl-friendly programming in their community.

Visit www.highfive.org to for more information and to access the trainings.

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