General News

Ontario Closing the Gender Gap in Sport

Province Launches Action Plan to Improve Opportunities for Women and Girls in Sport

Ontario is taking action to close the gender gap and give women and girls equal access to opportunities in the sport and recreation sector.

Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium today to release Advancing Opportunities for Women and Girls in Sport: Ontario’s Action Plan.

The plan outlines actions that the province will take to increase the number of women and girls who are athletes, coaches, sport administrators and leaders at schools, universities and communities across the province. These include:

  • Establishing an advisory group to identify actions that will remove barriers and improve the participation of women and girls in sport and physical activity.
  • Creating an information sharing platform for recognized sport organizations to share best practices in recruiting, developing, supporting and retaining women athletes, coaches, sport administrators and officials.
  • Requiring all before and after school programs to have staff trained in diversity and inclusiveness, to promote a welcoming environment that is reflective of the unique needs of girls, and to ensure that girls can participate at the same level and frequency as boys.
  • Working with all Ontario organizations involved in delivering amateur sport and recreation to promote the inclusion of 60 minutes of physical activity for children and youth connected to the school day.

Creating equitable opportunities in sport for women and girls has benefits beyond the sport and recreation sector. It can lead to higher self-confidence, better grades, and enhanced leadership and career opportunities.

Advancing opportunities for women and girls in sport is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  •  Of the 108 Canadian coaches at the 2014 Winter Olympics, only 11 were women.
  • Last year, Ontario invested $1.3 million to advance opportunities for women and girls in sport, including hosting sport competitions for women and girls, and supporting free physical literacy programs for mothers and children living in high priority neighbourhoods.
  • Advancing Opportunities for Women and Girls in Sport: Ontario’s Action Plan will be presented as a model for other jurisdictions at a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial sport ministers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which runs from July 27 to 28.
  • Closing the gender gap in sport is a key priority of Game ON – The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan, which is helping more people in Ontario get involved in sports, building healthier communities and creating jobs.
  • The Minister’s Advisory Panel on Ontario’s Sport Plan provided input on the action plan. Members were appointed by the government to provide advice to the minister as Game ON is implemented.

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“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the far-reaching benefits of sports. Our action plan will help level the playing field between men and women so that everyone has the chance to achieve their potential — on and off the field. It will ensure that women and girls have an equal opportunity to stay fit and healthy, develop the leadership and teamwork skills needed to flourish in their careers — and feel the thrill of participating in sports.”

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

“We recognize that the gender gap in sport needs to be addressed, which is why we’ve put together this ambitious plan. We’re introducing changes to make the entire sport system more equitable, welcoming and inclusive for all Ontarians.”

Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“Sport is so important for the personal growth and empowerment of women and girls. By committing to equality and fairness in sport, this action plan strengthens all of Ontario. It’s a bold step towards creating more opportunities for women and girls to participate in sports and reach their full potential.”

Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women

“It is encouraging to see the Ontario government commit to these long overdue changes. I urge all those in sport to work very hard to achieve the plan.”

Dr. Bruce Kidd, Co-Chair, Minister’s Advisory Panel on Sport

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