The Government of Canada Is Taking Concrete Steps to Achieve Gender Equity in All Levels of Sport

News release

WINNIPEG, March 14, 2019

Strong and powerful female role models inspire Canadian girls and young women to remain in sport and motivate them to become leaders. Although the majority of girls participate in sport in their early years, adolescent girls tend to drop out of sport at a much higher rate than boys, and women remain underrepresented in leadership positions in sport.

The Government of Canada is taking concrete measures to ensure that Canadian sport is more inclusive and that girls and women have the opportunities they need to follow their dreams and fulfill their potential.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced $3 million in funding over four years to the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) to support its efforts to increase participation of women and girls in sport as athletes and leaders. This funding is part of the $30 million announced in Budget 2018 to support data and research and innovative practices to promote the participation of women and girls in sport, and to provide support to national sports organizations to foster the greater inclusion of women and girls in all facets of sport. It will allow CAAWS to:

  • develop an empathy-based social media campaign targeted at sport organizations to make sport more welcoming to all girls and women;
  • expand the Women and Leadership Program, which provides professional development sessions to women working or volunteering in the sport or physical activity sector;
  • expand the Women in Sport Encouragement (WISE) Fund to continue developing female leaders in sport and supporting organizations to engage more women and girls in sport;
  • support national sport organizations in developing custom gender equity action plans to help them reach gender parity in all aspects of sport;
  • establish a gender audit service for sport organizations; and
  • develop Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) training modules for sport organizations.

In addition, Sport Canada recently launched the Sport Support Program Innovation Initiative, which provides funding to eligible organizations for testing innovative approaches aimed at encouraging girls and women to participate and remain in sport.

These initiatives also follow a recent announcement by Minister Duncan to establish a federal Gender Equity Secretariat to develop, implement and monitor a Gender Equity Strategy.


“Girls and women deserve equal access to sport so they can follow their dreams and fulfill their potential. That’s why we’re committed to achieving gender equity in sport by 2035. Today’s announcement is another step toward that, and we’ll continue to work with our provincial and territorial governments, as well as sport organizations and athletes, to make Canadian sport more welcoming and accessible to girls and women.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“The Government of Canada’s historic, multifaceted investment will drive unprecedented progress towards true inclusion of women in sport. At CAAWS, we are excited to leverage our 38 years of committed leadership and impact on this topic to expand support for sport organizations, helping them take action with evidence-based tools and guidance. Together, we will create an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport system that empowers girls and women—within and through sport.”

—Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, Chief Executive Officer, CAAWS

Quick facts

  • The 2018 Federal Budget committed the government to achieving gender equity in sport at every level by 2035. This included an initial three-year commitment of $30 million to support data, research and innovative practices to promote girls’ and women’s participation in sport, as well as to provide support to national sport organizations to foster greater inclusion for girls and women.

  • Recent research notes that:

    • 41 percent of girls aged 3 to 17 and 84 percent of women do not participate in sport;
    • 38 percent of senior staff of national multisport service organizations are women;
    • 29 percent of board members are women; and
    • only 34.9 percent of certified coaches are women, and only 30 percent of officials are women.
  • In April 2018, Minister Duncan convened a Working Group on Gender Equity in Sport to gather the experiences, perspectives and insights of 12 champions for gender equity in sport. The group provided a range of views and advice aimed at better understanding and serving the specific needs of girls and women in sport. The initiatives announced today were informed by discussions held by members of the working group.

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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