Maree Todd: Girls and Women in Sport Week

“The Orkney Dragons are a great example of the inclusiveness that women’s sport should be all about”

Maree ToddIt’s Girls and Women in Sport Week and I’m delighted to be closing a debate on behalf of the Scottish Government as Minister for Children and Young People later this week.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of women in sport and I would love to see more young girls in particular take up a sport or get involved sort of physical activity.

The benefits of doing so are huge. We know that being more active can make a really positive contribution to our mental, as well as physical health.

In my younger days I was a keen rugby player. I have been absolutely delighted to get back on the pitch, as the only female MSP on the Holyrood parliamentary rugby team! It was also brilliant to get the chance train with the Orkney Women’s Rugby team last year. The Orkney Dragons are a great example of the inclusiveness that women’s sport should be all about, and it was brilliant to see them lifting the BT Women’s North League earlier this year. There is a high level of participation in sport among Orkney women, from netball, hockey, football and rugby, to athletics, rowing, kickboxing, golf, archery, and many more. I’m sure there is a welcome at all local clubs for anyone keen to have a go.

Maree Todd MSP Orkney Dragons

Maree Todd MSP in her Orkney Dragons T shirt

I’ve also been running a Daily Mile since Easter, come rain or shine. I’ll be posting about my Daily Mile everyday this week on twitter, using the hashtag #SheCanSheWill. Most of you will appreciate that I have an incredibly busy schedule, however the Daily Mile takes no time at all and it really sets you up for the day ahead. The challenge was started by a primary school teacher in Stirling, and is a simple and effective initiative to get folk outside and active. It’s yet another wonderful example of Scottish innovation that has been adopted across the world.I encourage everyone to give it a go, you might just get hooked on it like me!

Overall, we want Scotland to be a country where folk are more active, more often. We have seen some good progress in recent years, with more teenage girls participating in a range of sports and physical activities. However, there is of course more we can to do to encourage more young women to get active. That’s why the Scottish Government increased sportscotland’s core funding by £2million in 2018-19, to prioritise the development of sport within Scotland.

We want to increase participation, raise awareness, and remove the barriers to getting involved.The Scottish Government also set up the Women and Girls in Sport Advisory Board to provide expert advice to recommend what more we could to increase participation and make sport and physical activity more accessible for every woman and girl in Scotland

This Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week is about raising awareness, increasing opportunities and coming up with solutions, overcoming barriers to participation – hopefully helping to drive change for women and girls in Scotland.

This is a fortnightly column by Maree Todd MSP , SNP. All list MSP for the Highlands & Islands were offered the same column space.

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