One of my favourite aspects of Elmwood is our smaller population because it gives each student a chance to participate in sports she may not have tried before. Since not all the school teams require tryouts, all girls have the opportunity to join a team. This means we have a safe and friendly environment in which to find new passions by trying new sports, surrounded by girls doing exactly the same thing.
Throughout my time at Elmwood, my interest in this subject has grown. This interest began in grade 7 when I wrote my speech for English class on the inequity faced by women in the world of sports. I remember two aspects of that speech that made me passionate about this subject. First, I remember that when I looked at different news outlets for recent stories about women in sport, they were much harder to find than I had expected. Even today there are far fewer stories about women in athletics than men. Second, I remember talking to my class about Eugenie Bouchard, who had recently won an important tennis match. After the match, while some reporters questioned her about her playing, others wanted to know about her outfit; one reporter even asked her to twirl for him. Since that time, I have struggled with the idea of how to encourage girls around me to try new sports and get involved, when women in sports don’t have nearly as many opportunities as men and are sometimes taken far less seriously.
Within the Middle and Senior School Elmwood Athletics councils, we are trying to bring more attention to this part of Elmwood life, encouraging every student to try at least one school sport. Statistics from the Women’s Sports Foundation indicate that by age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys. I want the girls at Elmwood to be an exception to this. As a member of Athletics Council, I believe it is important to encourage classmates to participate in sports as, on a global scale, women are underrepresented in sports. I decided to address this by speaking in assembly about recent achievements of women in athletics, and by encouraging fellow students to watch for other such achievements. Hearing about the achievements of women encourages us to try sports ourselves. Although there is little I can do globally to help women be more represented for their athletic achievements, there are ways we can celebrate female athletes within the Elmwood community.
While Elmwood already helps girls stay caught up on their school work if they are away for training or competitions, and shares the athletic achievements of students with the whole school, I want to ensure that the Elmwood community supports the endeavours of all women in sports by promoting participation and by showing what women can accomplish in sports. Through my involvement in Athletics Council I also hope to promote sports through initiatives that I hope the council will support. For example, this February on National Girls and Women in Sport Day, I would like to propose a civvies day and fundraiser for a local charity that supports girls in sports. We have an all-female student body: we should be leaders in promoting girls in sport; in encouraging girls to follow their dreams, athletics included.
By Grace C., Grade 11