Off the Sidelines from Girls Can’t WHAT? & Jess Larson

Today, we are sharing the blog post from Girls Can’t WHAT?, a website that sells customized gifts and tees with empowering messages for girls.  Their blog recently shared this story, submitted by 15 year old Elysia.

“Throughout year 7 to 9 I experienced sexism in PE lessons (physical education) at school.

I am a tomboy and always have been. As a result of this I have been bullied as I don’t fit in with the normal expectations of a girl. PE lessons in school didn’t help my confidence as we were made to do nothing but dance and rounders (both of which I find boring).

One day I asked my teacher, “why can’t we play football, basketball, rugby and cricket like the boys?”

My teacher replied with this: “because those sports are traditionally boys’ sports so girls aren’t allowed to do them.”

This didn’t help with my self-esteem as they were implying the girls weren’t as good as the boys which was why we weren’t allowed to play them. I felt like I had to prove myself that I can do the same things as boys can.

I raised the issue of sexism multiple times to several teachers. I spoke to the headmaster, head of years, progress leaders and several other teachers I knew might be able to help.

After several months of patience I finally got justice. When I moved into year 10, they allowed for girls to do the same sports as boys and even mixed sets were introduced.

Sexism in PE isn’t as much of a problem anymore although I still feel I have to prove myself on my new set as it is full of boys that think girls are pathetic at sports. My efforts have paid off and everything is much better and more equal for girls at my school.”

This blog post from Girls Can’t WHAT? does a great job of sharing the internal and external struggles that many girls face in PE classes across the world.  Even when PE teachers make an extra effort to include girls, other social pressures and insecurities can leave many girls on the fringes of PE class and the playground.

Girls in the Game is working to change the climate for girls by building their confidence and exposing them to a wide variety of sports. This helps them to feel empowered to participate and play. Our 2014-2015 Loyola Program Evaluation results found that after completing one season of Girls in the Game programming, 64% of girls demonstrated significant increases in enjoyment of being active in gym class.

That is great news! The lessons we teach at Girls in the Game are having a significant impact on how girls participate in other athletic programs, including PE class. This is what Girls in the Game is all about; our programs build self-confidence and expose the girls to a variety of sports, which in turn helps them to get off the sidelines and into the game..

You can find the original posting of this story at the Girls Can’t WHAT? website in the link below: http://www.girlscantwhat.com/sexism-in-school-pe-lessons/

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