Global day for girls calls for level field – Kids News

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A decade since the United Nations* first declared October 11 the International Day of the Girl (IDOTG), the global day continues raising awareness of the basic needs, global injustices* and specific challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment* and the protection of their human rights.
To mark the anniversary, 10-year-old cub sports reporter Olivia – better known as @SportyGirlStories on Instagram – sat down with Victoria’s Office for Women in Sport and Recreation director Sarah Styles to chat about IDOTG, including their shared hopes for the state’s Change Our Game movement, advocating* for equal opportunity for girls in sport.
“If I could change one thing in the sporting world on International Day of the Girl, I would love to take any doubt that girls might feel about sport away,” Ms Styles said. “Today’s a chance to highlight where there are opportunities for us to all do things better.”
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While girls already play a central and increasingly recognised role in countless Australian families, schools, communities and sporting clubs, creating more pathways for girls to fulfil their dreams can start with making existing opportunities more visible.
Inspirational surfer girl Stephanie Gilmore is one global champion who has summited the Mt Everest of her sport, last month claiming her eighth world surfing title, one more than the previous record held by fellow Aussie Layne Beachley.
But she’s not done yet. Gilmore hopes to raise the bar even higher and encourage more girls to dip a toe in the sport – a sentiment* especially worth celebrating this IDOTG.
“I have the trophy which says I am at the top of the mountain, but I still feel I have a lot to learn and a lot more to give,’’ Gilmore said, speaking after an event for her new sponsor, TechnologyOne.
Gilmore returned to Australia last week after a brief break that included a trip to Vancouver Island off the Canadian west coast, where the magnitude* of her achievement sank in.
“The main thing I always wanted was to win eight but wasn’t sure it was possible,” Gilmore said. “I was questioning whether I could do it, but when I did it, my year was far from perfect – which tells me there is more to go. I can improve.’’
After a disappointing Tokyo Olympics, Gilmore also has an Olympic itch to scratch at the 2024 Paris Games, where the surfing tournament will be held in Tahiti.
“My performance in Tokyo was not great and my initial feelings are I would love to try again,” she said.
“It would be a wild experience given that Tahiti is so far away from France.
“I have so many unconquered peaks. I am yet to even feel comfortable at Pipeline (in Hawaii).
“It is a terrifying wave. It is also so beautiful and the one place I would love to win where I haven’t.’’
Gilmore’s world titles cover a 15-year span starting in 2007, when the women’s circuit was not treated with the respect it gets today.
“In the beginning we were probably getting a third of the prizemoney of the men’s,” she said. “Now we are getting equal prizemoney and equal priority in the decision-making when it comes to wave quality. We are not pushed to the side as a sideshow any more. The audience is there.’’
The strong push for more girls on the circuit was “fascinating”, Gilmore said.
“We go to places like El Salvador and there are 40 young girls who are so excited to come and surf and surf really well,” she said.
“In the future, we may see world champions for all sorts of places we thought we might never see a champion from.’’
Additional reporting by Kids News
GLOSSARY
EXTRA READING
Girls surfing new wave of sports
Fearless girls for International Women’s Day
Australia’s incredible women of influence
QUICK QUIZ
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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. International Day of the Girl
What sporting opportunities are available for girls in your community?
How could organisations make these activities more visible as part of the “Change Our Game” movement that is advocating for equal opportunity for girls in sport?
Local Opportunities for Girls in Sport:





How does this compare to opportunities for boys in your community?
Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education; Personal and Social; Critical and Creative Thinking
2. Extension
How has women’s sport progressed in the last 10 years? What changes have you read or heard about?
What other changes do you think need to be made to ensure girls have equal opportunities in sport?
Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education; Personal and Social; Critical and Creative Thinking
VCOP ACTIVITY
Day of the girl
I bet you would be surprised to find out some amazing little stars you have in your school, maybe even in your class.
Your job is to celebrate these rising stars. You’ll need to create a poster inviting girls to come and celebrate achievements that they have every right to be proud of.
Create a time and a place for the girls to meet you. Then create a profile for them to fill in about their achievement, as well as have their photo taken.
Next, you’ll need to collate them all and make a display or take a page out in the school newsletter to help everyone to celebrate these amazing girls.
Think about your audience for each task. How will you make the poster inviting? What profile information do you need?
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