How many times have we heard comments like “girls shouldn’t play that sport” or seen girls’ teams playing in half-filled arenas? If you’ve been following Wimbledon over this last week and a half, you may have noticed the lack of crowd in Centre Court for the Ladies Singles Quarter Final between Cibulkova and Vesnina yesterday. What impact does this have on girls and their desire to play sport throughout puberty? These are critical questions that Always, leader in global feminine care and the brand committed to championing girls’ confidence, is asking – an activity recognised for its profound and long-term impact in helping girls build and maintain confidence. As the world prepares for the 2016 Olympic Games, Always wants to urge, encourage and inspire girls everywhere to Keep Playing #LikeAGirl.
Data from the most recent Always Confidence & Puberty Survey, shows that by the end of puberty, over half of girls surveyed (64%) will have quit playing sport. To help shed light on this issue, Always partnered with Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Nanette Burstein to find out how girls feel about playing sport. The new #LikeAGirl video, asked girls about their athletic experiences, the challenges and the benefits, what helped them stay in the game, or what led them to quit. Hear their stories and be motivated by their passionate rallying call for all girls to keep playing by watching the Always Keep Playing #LikeAGirl video.
Watching this video made me think back to my experiences of sport during my teenage years. I have always been a dancer and have taken lessons between the ages of 2 and 16, only quitting my dance school to keep up with my studies and attend evening classes. I have continued to dance into my late-twenties and will always love it. Thinking back to those teenage years, my experience of Physical Education (PE) in school was pretty rubbish. I was uninspired by my teachers, often being made to feel inadequate in class and incapable compared to my classmates. I’ve never been able to run well as I have hypermobile joints but sports that I was better at, like tennis, badminton and gymnastics, were rarely addressed.
British cycling star and Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott is partnering with Always #LikeAGirl to share her own story and encourage girls to keep playing sport. “For me, it’s about being a role model and trying to inspire girls not to give up. We all go through it, but puberty can be such challenging time for girls, you suddenly feel really self-conscious about lots of things and start thinking you can’t or shouldn’t do certain activities. I remember kids making fun of me for cycling and wearing a helmet and that would really knock my confidence. But playing sport taught me that by believing in myself, and never quitting, you can achieve great things,” said Laura.
“That’s why I am proud to be supporting the Always #LikeAGirl mission to help stop the drop in confidence girls experience at puberty. Sport really is one of the strongest confidence building activities and as a female athlete competing in the Olympic Games I want to encourage and inspire girls everywhere to keep playing #LikeAGirl and never quit.”
Many studies have found that ongoing participation in sport significantly contributes to confidence in girls, at any level, and provides valuable skills to help them stay confident to do any and every thing later in life. In fact, a recent 2015 study of consumers in the UK showed that women aged 18 to 24 are twice as likely to be confident if they play sport regularly, compared to those who do not play at all[i]. Additionally, the recent Always survey found that girls reported that three of the top benefits of staying involved in sport are increased confidence, teamwork, and staying in shape. However, despite the known benefits, girls still report that they don’t feel like they belong in sport. Further, 67% of girls feel that society does not encourage them to play sport.
“As someone who grew up playing sport, and also as the mother of a seven-year-old daughter, I know how important participation in sport can be in helping girls build the confidence and skills that will serve them throughout life. It’s my hope that this video will spark a conversation and inspire girls to keep playing sport,” said Burstein. “I love and support the #LikeAGirl campaign and I’m thrilled to be partnering with Always ahead of the Olympic Games to shed light on this important issue,” she continues.
“The Olympic Games is a time when – all around the world- female sports participation is elevated in the public eye, and for that reason, we could not think of a better moment to drive awareness of the critical role sport play in building girls’confidence,” states Michele Baeten, Associate Brand Director and Always #LikeAGirl leader at Procter & Gamble. “We will rally and unite Olympic athletes, the International and National Olympic Committees and other organisations, to spark a change and inspire a world in which every girl truly feels that she can play sport and will Keep Playing #LikeAGirl!”
Always is inviting everybody to join in to rewrite the rules and keep girls in sport. Pledge that you’ll Keep Playing #LikeAGirl and encourage others to do the same. Upload a picture, shoot a video or tweet using #LikeAGirl to show your support and inspire young girls everywhere to Keep Playing.