Studies have shown that physical education and sports have multiple opportunities. For example, athletic programmes are considered educational programmes and regular physical activity has a positive effect on the entire body system. On the career side, Physical education teacher, school sports director, recreational programmer, personal trainer, policy analyst-recreation, sports development officer, youth worker etc. are some of the career opportunities available in sports. With these opportunities, there seemed to be a growing concern on low female participation, particularly in varsity sports.
In Nigeria and other parts of the world, young females are at greater risk for not getting enough physical activity compared to young males and gender inequities in sports continue to exist. There are also issues of disparities in the availability of forums to disseminate the expertise of women in the field of sports compared to their male counterparts.
Lack of physical education in secondary schools and limited opportunities to play sports in the universities mean girls have to look elsewhere for sports –which may not exist or may cost more money. Often there is an additional lack of access to adequate playing facilities near their homes that makes it more difficult for girls to engage in sports.
As girls grow up, the quality level of their sports experience may decline. The facilities are not as good as the boys’ venues and the playing times may not be optimal. The availability of quality, trained coaches may be lacking in their community or these coaches may be more focused on the boys’ programs that have more money for training.
School sports budgets are being slashed every day, all across the country. Fewer opportunities within schools mean families must pay to play in private programs while also footing the bill for expensive coaches, equipment and out-of-pocket travel requirements. This additional expense is just not possible for many families.
Today’s girls are bombarded with images of external beauty, not those of confident, strong female athletic role models. To some girls, fitting within the mould that they are constantly told to stay in is more important than standing out. Peer pressure can be hard for girls at any age; when that pressure isn’t offset with strong encouragement to participate in sports and healthy physical activity, the results may lead girls to drop out altogether.
While these challenges abound, there are a few reasons why girls should stay in sports. More than three-quarters of working women feel that sports participation helps enhance their self-image; Female athletes have more positive body images than non-athletes; Girls active in sports are 20% less likely to get breast cancer later in life; Through sports, girls learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership and confidence.
1. Sabo & Snyder (1993) Sports and Fitness in the Lives of Working Women.
5. Adedoyin, R.A., Ibrahim, R.A., Awotidebe, T.O., Ativie, R.N., & Oyeyemi, A.L. 2014. Psychosocial correlates of physical activity participation among Nigerian university students. International Journal of Sports Science, 4, 205-211.
Mr. Musa Mohammed is the Head of Sports of Skyline University Nigeria. He has a B.Ed in Physical & Health Education from Bayero University Kano.