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Friday, 10 November, 2000, 11:49 GMT
Gym slips 'put girls off sport'
Netball
Many girls would prefer aerobics to netball
Teenage girls are put off sport at the thought of having to wear the traditional kit of gym skirts and knickers, research suggests.

A survey by the Youth Sport Trust found 40% of girls dropped out of school sports when they became teenagers.


If you do change a number of things, you really can create a culture shift

Clare Claxton, Youth Sport Trust
The study - of 3,000 boys and girls - claims many girls would rather wear baggy tracksuits and tops when taking part in physical education.

The trust says girls are also staying off the sports field because of a lack of variety and too much emphasis on competition.

Many would prefer to do aerobics or play football or cricket than practice traditional "girls games" such as netball or hockey.

The trust hopes the launch of its four-year Girls in Sport programme will help turn around the attitudes revealed by its research.

Competition 'unfeminine'

The government-backed initiative - involving training for teachers to make Physical Education more interesting for girls - is now being expanded having been tested in 74 schools in England.

PE instructors involved in the scheme discovered many girls felt competitiveness was unfeminine and were intimidated if schools placed too much emphasis on winning competitions.

Jamie Redknapp
Jamie Redknapp: "Girls want more variety"
Clare Claxton from the trust said the trials had proved that schools can successfully reverse the trend.

"If you do change a number of things, you really can create a culture shift and then more girls will be more willing to take part in PE and sport."

The Girls in Sport programme has been backed by Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp, who has visited schools taking part in the pilot schemes.

"It's amazing how many young girls want to play football and cricket and not just netball and stuff.

"All they want is the opportunity to do that," he said.

The government has allocated 50,000 for the programme, which also aims to ensure girls feel valued in their sporting activities.

Sports Minister Kate Hoey said: "In the wake of our recent Olympic success, this programme will undoubtedly be instrumental in broadening the nation's talent pool."

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See also:

10 Nov 00 | Sports Talk
Do girls lack sporting role models?
27 Sep 00 | Education
Football role models 'alienate girls'
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