Girls, Girls, Girls

Somehow March is here, and nearly gone, making us a quarter of the way through 2018 already! How does that happen? Last month I talked about gratitude and what you are grateful for. I’d love to know if the article made you think about what you have and what you are grateful for. Let us know your thoughts. We love a bit of reader interaction and value your thoughts at MuMag. I also promised in last month’s article, that this month would be about the exercise.

So here we go, if it’s ok with you I am concentrating on the fairer sex this month in honour of International Women’s Day. March 8th was International Women’s Day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Social media was full of the IWD2018 hashtag, loads of nods of appreciation and admiration to women all over the world, from all different walks of life.

#IWD2018 was used by England women’s netball, rugby, cricket, hockey and football teams. Ladies who are at the top of their sport and who are perfectly placed to be role models to women and girls all over the country. In the last couple of years the national women’s teams have been outstanding. England Cricket are World cup winners (2017), England Rugby were finalists in the World Cup and were Six Nations champions (2017), GB Hockey ladies are Olympic champions, England Netball are ranked third in the world as are the England Women’s Football team.

This is massively positive and provides great inspiration for our daughters. Who was your inspiration as a child? What about your daughter, who inspires her? Jessica Ennis-Hill is my daughter’s inspiration. I asked a couple of my friends who they looked up to in the sporting world when they were girls. Track athletes: Liz McColgan, Denise Lewis, Sally Gunnell, Kelly Holmes, Paula Radcliff; tennis players, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert were named.

We all know the importance of taking regular exercise, and the physical and mental benefits you gain. But still we need to increase the numbers of participation in regular exercise particularly in girls. A study published by Women in Sport stated that 78% of 14-16 year old girls understand the importance of physical activity yet only 28% actually enjoy taking part. Studies show that to 7-8 years old, family time is still a priority for children, thus highlighting parents and, possibly, older siblings are in a position of influence. As girls get older, lack of opportunity, body awareness, and perceived irrelevance of skills learnt to everyday life are stated as reasons why teenage girls drop out of sport.

It is up to us as parents to instil, not just the importance but also the actual doing, of sport and physical activity, into our daughters from an early age. We need to quash the stereotypes of yoga, gymnastics and aerobics for girls and rugby, football and cricket for boys; to quash the phase “you throw like a girl” because that subconsciously tells girls that they aren’t as good as boys.

As I have talked about before, half the battle with exercise if finding something that you enjoy. In my opinion team sport is one of the best ways to exercise. You get fit, have fun, build self-confidence and body confidence, make friends and develop a skill or hobby that you can take with you wherever you go. New town, new team, new friends.

There are so many opportunities locally, all around the country that give us the chance to get involved with new activities. The Back to Netball initiative, for example is huge. Ladies who haven’t played netball since school getting back to it. If that’s too much, there are walking netball clubs all around the country too. The BBC’s Get Inspired website has heaps of information on how to get involved.

We need to do this to inspire a future generation of healthy, empowered young women.

Upcoming events to inspire your girls.
Commonwealth Games April 4th to April 15th – A whole range of sports including hockey, netball, rugby sevens, athletics, swimming.


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