An Evaluation of a Multi-Year Gender Equity in Sport Program 


Sports participation can provide numerous benefits for girl-identifying youth. Yet, girls are dropping out of sport at alarming rates. A driving factor behind girls’ sport drop-out is concern over safety and belonging. Therefore, in collaboration with Canadian Women & Sport, Fast and Female Supporting Women in Sport Foundation developed a multi-week program for girls and sport leaders aimed at increasing knowledge, awareness and attitudes toward keeping girls safe and engaged in sport. As the program has run for two virtual cohorts with plans for future in-person deliveries, an evaluation was necessary to learn from and adapt programming. Thus, the purpose of this evaluation was to explore girl and sport leader participants’ experiences in, and outcomes of, the program. A qualitative approach using focus group interviews (ngirls = 9; nleaders= 5) was employed to collect program process and outcome data. Interview data were analyzed using a reflexive thematic approach. For sport leaders, findings demonstrated that the program increased their knowledge and attitudes toward cultivating safe sporting environments (e.g., increased understanding of how to apply a gender lens to sport). For the girls, the program improved their understanding of safe sport by feeling more motivated to speak up for themselves, enhanced their identification of positive sport behaviours, and increased their value of sport participation. Findings add to the ongoing work in Canada to support the creation and maintenance of safe sporting environments for girls. Practical contributions include discussing how gender equity initiatives can be implemented and evaluated in the Canadian sport sector.