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45% of Girls Drop Out of Sports by Age 14—Dove and Nike Are Teaming Up To Change That

The first few years of teenhood are straight-up torture. Between changing bodies, raging hormones, and determining WTF to do with a tampon, most young women (my former self included) spend lots of their energy simply attempting to navigate puberty and the drama that comes around with it. So though it might not be surprising that, based on latest research done by Nike and Dove, 45 percent of teenage girls drop out of sports due to body confidence concerns—twice the speed of boys the identical age—it is concerning.

This statistic is problematic because 56 percent of the women who quit say that they were “mocked, criticized, and bullied due to their body size.” And that alternative has implications that may last a lifetime. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, young women who take part in sports have higher confidence, lower risk of depression, and better grades than those that don’t. What’s more, the talents they learn on the sector—teamwork, healthy competition, losing with grace—might help set them up for skilled success.

Case in point? According to a 2020 study, 94 percent of female executives played sports (over half of them did so on the collegiate level), and 74 percent of all executives imagine playing sports helps women progress faster within the workplace.

That’s all to say, we’d like to maintain girls in the sport—and Dove and Nike have teamed as much as do exactly that.

The two brands have come along with the assistance of world-renowned experts from the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport to launch the “Body Confident Sport” coaching program, a free online platform that offers coaches the tools they should instill confidence of their young female athletes.

“Globally, girls face complex cultural and social barriers, and in addition they enter sports later and drop out of sports earlier. Our partnership with Dove and unique give attention to coaching through body confidence goals to alter that,” Vanessa Garcia-Brito, Nike’s chief social and community impact officer, said in a press release. “Together, we’re taking motion to interrupt barriers by providing coaches with the tools to empower girls with a lifetime of confidence. By shifting the conversation from what their bodies appear to be to what their bodies can do—so more girls can stay in sports and experience the advantages—we imagine we’re creating the subsequent generation of female leaders and changemakers who will move the world forward.”

“By shifting the conversation from what their bodies appear to be to what their bodies can do…we imagine we’re creating the subsequent generation of female leaders and changemakers.” —Vanessa Garcia-Brito

The program took two years to develop, and, in clinical trials with greater than 1,200 girls aged 11 to 17, was scientifically proven to enhance girls’ self-esteem and body confidence. The result’s a series of digital courses in seven languages that “coaches” (which, as the web site notes, includes actual coaches in addition to physical education teachers, strength and conditioning trainers, athletic directors, referees, parents, and caring adults) can use to learn learn how to create a more positive environment for “athletes” (aka “anyone who moves their body in a way that makes them feel comfortable and assured—whatever their age, gender, body type, or ability”).

According to Nike and Dove’s research, 83 percent of women within the US say that their coach was the explanation they felt more confidence, and 61 percent say they might be excited by hearing from coaches about body confidence education. So it’s clear this give attention to coaching has the facility to make an actual difference.

The idea is that by teaching young women about what their bodies can do as a substitute of what they give the impression of being like, they’ll feel empowered on the sector and beyond. “In sports, girls often face an amazing amount of pressure—not only around performance and talents, but additionally due to unrealistic expectations around their appearances,” tennis star Venus Williams, considered one of the athletes tapped to be an element of this system, said in a press release. “I’m excited to be working with Dove on this initiative to assist nurture girls’ self-belief and confidence, foster a positive environment, and shift the conversation from appearance to capability. Our shared goal is to make sports a more inclusive, welcoming space for women all over the place.”

I recently had the possibility to see the Body Confident Sport programming in motion on the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club, where a gaggle of editors and I played basketball with pre-teen girls under the guidance of coach Marti Reed. We were instructed to keep away from any language that even touched on the athletes’ appearances, and told to interchange phrases like “looking good on the market!” with more strength-focused language like “that was such a powerful pass” and “great shot.” We played games with various levels of competition, all of which were designed to bring small groups of us together and make us feel like an actual, unstoppable team.

Though we only got a small taste of what the initiative has to supply, it left a big effect. After the 45-minute session, a couple of of the women volunteered to share how they were feeling: One said she felt “empowered, although she didn’t make any baskets;” and two others said they were appreciative of the experience and felt confident in themselves no matter how they performed. When the editors got together to speak concerning the experience, there was one shared sentiment that reigned supreme: We wish this had been around once we were younger.

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