Studies show girls drop out of sports at a much higher rate than boys. Given the proven physical and psychological benefits of participating in them — from improved cardiovascular fitness to increased self-esteem — it’s vital to encourage girls to stay active for life. Fortunately, there are plenty of Canadian female role models who inspire girls to stay in the game. Here are three who set a positive example through sport:
1. Rosie MacLennan. It’s hard to imagine that the back-to-back Olympic Gold Medallist in trampoline and our country’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies of the Rio Games once lacked confidence. More than winning medals, she credits sport for helping cultivate her sense of self and instilling a positive body image.
2. Hayley Wickenheiser. When Hayley Wickenheiser started playing hockey, she played with the boys and had to change in the boiler room. The six-time Olympian won five Olympic medals in hockey, including four gold, and also played on the Canadian Olympic Softball team in 2000. She recently retired to focus on her next ambitious goal: medical school.
3. Kaillie Humphries. This back-to-back Olympic Gold Medallist in bobsleigh was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy in 2014. She challenges gender barriers by competing in mix-gender and all women crews, fighting for women’s equality. She was one of the first women to compete and win medals against male pilots in an international four-man bobsleigh competition.
One more thing these role models have in common? They’re all Ambassadors for Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, helping kids who otherwise couldn’t afford to play get in the game.
You can support this cause by donating at your local Canadian Tire store —100 per cent of customer donations stay within the local community. If you know a kid who wants to play but is unable to because of costs, check out jumpstart.canadiantire.ca.