Leader comment: Role models key to inspiring girls into sport

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Women’s football is one of our great sporting success stories.

It was identified in one recent report as the fastest growing sport in the world. That growing enthusiasm for the game across the gender divide is clear on pitches across the Capital. Whereas a generation ago, it was overwhelmingly boys playing ‘the beautiful game’, the picture today is much more mixed.

So it is no wonder that girls football teams are struggling to recruit enough coaches to meet demand.

Of course men and women can make equally great coaches, but female coaches bring something to the girls game that men cannot deliver.

The importance of role models is hard to overestimate when it comes to shaping youngsters behaviour especially at primary school age. Seeing women playing an active part in any sport makes a big impression on girls who are in the process of forming their own ideas about their gender identity. With so many girls still dropping out of regular sport in their teenage years this is something we should be thinking about.

Sporting women have a huge part to play in inspiring the athletes of the future.