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Girls sport thrives in an all-girls’ school. Here’s why.

Toorak College
Mar 20, 2020 3:56:08 PM

Data reveals that students at all-girls’ schools feel more confident and show fewer inhibitions to participate in sport than their co-educational peers.

With a proud and rich history of sporting success at Toorak College, participating in sport has always been an integral part of our school culture. From water sports, equestrian, aerobics, and over 25 sports on offer, we are proud to be providing the best environment where our girls not only feel valued and empowered playing sport but thrive in it too. 

Recently, over 30 Junior School families attended the International Cricket Council Women’s T20 World Cup, where Australia brought home a stunning win against India. The 1.231 million Australians tuning in on the television to watch the competition made it the most viewed women’s sporting competition in history! The continuing rise of women’s sport is powerful and inspiring, and we are proud to be leading the way in providing the best foundation for young girls to succeed in sport and continue lifelong participation in physical activity beyond their schooling years. 

Here’s why girls thrive in sport at all-girls’ schools:

Girls in all-girls' schools keep playing

Although we are witnessing a rise in women’s sport, studies reveal that Australian girls still lack confidence and a drive to participate in sport. Studies show that by age 14, girls begin dropping out of sport at double the rate compared to boys. By age 17, 50% of all girls have quit playing sports with body image, lack of opportunity, and sexism being the most prominent reasons. According to Suncorp’s 2019 Australian Youth Confidence Report, “between the ages of 11 to 17 – girls are playing nearly an hour less of sport during the week than teenage boys”. 

Toorak is proud to be bucking these trends, and providing a diverse sport program which offers our girls every opportunity to thrive in sport. Director of Sport at Toorak College, Deb Gardener, says, “single-sex education offers girls the greatest chance to ignore gender stereotypes, take more positive risks, develop strong self-worth and grow in confidence on the sporting field. At Toorak, we always strive towards friendly competition with a strong emphasis on participation, sportsmanship, and enthusiasm across all sports. We are proud that 84% of our girls from Year 7 to Year 12 participate in competitive sport and remain actively involved in our program throughout VCE. Our students strongly value sport and recognise the benefits of participating in physical activity”.

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Environment matters

As studies suggest, girls are less likely to participate in sport when the environments they are in scrutinise and discriminate against their skill-level, and abilities. In a co-educational setting, girls often feel overshadowed and taken less seriously than their male peers, which in turn, discourages them from giving sport a go. This is particularly evident for girls participating in male-dominated sports such as AFL, cricket, and soccer. 

“At Toorak, we uphold a sporting culture that is safe, uplifting and equal", says Deb Gardener. “We recognise that it is our responsibility to create an environment that empowers our girls to choose whatever they desire for themselves on the sporting field". It is fundamental that all students have the opportunity to be involved in sporting competitions and tournaments. Through sport, girls can build upon friendships, leadership skills, and sportsmanship with each other — ultimately creating an uplifting environment and a greater sense of belonging that welcomes all students to participate in sport. 

Inspiring each other

Toorak College has a strong emphasis on the importance of female role models and being inspired by each other's success. Earlier in the year, Year 10 -12 students had the opportunity to part-take in our Sport Leadership Program and listen to the incredible line up of guest speakers. The speakers included AFLW player, Sarah Hosking, Basketball Paralympian, Leanne Del Toso, and Australian Olympic Beach Volleyball player, Sange Carter, to mention a few! As well as this, Toorak has recently appointed Australian netball superstar, Julie Corletto, who joins our Toorak coaching community. 

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It is through these opportunities and positive messages that our girls feel empowered by females in sport and understand that they are strongly valued and equally as skilled and talented. In turn, this empowers our students to put themselves out there and results in an increase of students taking more opportunities for individual skill development and performance pathways into a sport in their future.

Competing in a range of sports

For too long, girls have been underestimated and devalued in sporting competitions. However, this year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Girls Sports Victoria (GSV) for providing approximately 15,000 girls every year the opportunity to participate in sport at competitive levels in a friendly and safe environment. All- girls’ schools provide a unique opportunity for girls to compete with other like-minded students in a broad range of sports made possible through programs such as GSV. 

GSV says, “Girls who play sport not only benefit from the physical activity of training and playing sport, they develop friendships with their teammates, learn about the highs and lows of life, but importantly, maintain a healthy balance between study and co-curricular activities which ultimately assists them to perform well academically. Girls who enjoy sport in their teenage years are more likely to develop a positive attitude to women’s health and a lifelong love for physical activity and sport.” 

It is through these unique opportunities to engage in a wide range of sports offered at all-girls’ schools, that females feel empowered to rise up on the sporting field and continue to gain much-deserved recognition in sport.

Discover what makes Toorak College unique by attending our small group tours and prospective parent information evenings. Enrolments now open!

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