News / Toronto

#SheCanCoach campaign seeks to increase number of women in sports leadership

The lack of women in coaching roles is a glaring issue across the country despite a growing number of girls in sports, according to the Coaches Association of Ontario.

Kids play soccer near the Palace Pier condo. A new campaign seeks to attract more female coaches.

Torstar News Service

Kids play soccer near the Palace Pier condo. A new campaign seeks to attract more female coaches.

As a coach and mentor with the Toronto Soccer Association for the past 12 years, Carolyn McCaughey knows the challenges that female coaches face.

"There are times where people look down on you because you're a female. They think you couldn't have played or known the game well enough," McCaughey said.

"When you go to a coach education session and you're one in 25 people, that can be daunting, and it's hard to feel, or be viewed as, equal."

The lack of women in coaching roles is a glaring issue across the country despite a growing number of girls in sports, according to the Coaches Association of Ontario. The non-profit says only 30 per cent of coaches in Canadian community sports are female.

That's something the association hopes to change through #SheCanCoach. Launching this Thursday, the public campaign will highlight the need for more women in coaching and the benefits of balanced sports leadership.

The campaign builds on another initiative: Changing The Game, a mentorship program the association launched last year. It recruited about 250 female apprentice coaches and placed them in more than 50 sports programs across Ontario in an effort to change the conversation and improve public perceptions about female coaching.

The program's lead Danielle Emmons said one of the biggest obstacles female coaches face is a lack of acceptance on the field. Women who coach are constantly "questioned" about their abilities and decisions, something that can lead to self-doubt, she explained.

"It takes work to be able to say, 'You know what? I enjoy the sport and I do know what I'm talking about and I'm here for a reason,'" said Emmons, who is also the coach for the Toronto Lords, the U12 basketball team for young women.

The association hopes more women in coaching roles will mean more role models for younger female players.

"You can't be what you can't see," Emmons said.

"This is a time to say: Yes, women do belong on the coaching roster and we know that their success allows for both boys and girls to stay longer in the sports."

Take part:

Find more details about #SheCanCoach, including how to take part, at ctgctc.ca.

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