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March 8/12 11:52 am - CAAWS Releases New Canadian Sport for Life Resource

Posted by Editoress on 03/8/12

In celebration of International Women's Day, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) announces the publication of Actively Engaging Women and Girls: Addressing the Psycho-Social Factors, a new resource designed to increase opportunities for women and girls as both participants and leaders in the Canadian sport and physical activity system. The publication is a supplement to the Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) foundation document, and complements other Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) resources.

A valuable resource for everyone involved in sport and physical activity, it will support and guide those working with women and girls so they engage in, and maintain, healthy and active lifestyles.

"Women and girls are still less active than men, are less visible in leadership roles, and tend to drop out of sport and physical activity earlier. Lower rates of participation have serious implications for the health of women and girls, and a lack of female leaders decreases the quality of the sport and physical activity system," said CAAWS Executive Director Karin Lofstrom (Ottawa, Ontario). "The purpose of this resource is to increase awareness about the experiences of women and girls, and provide recommendations to address the psycho-social factors that influence female athlete development, leadership and life-long participation in sport and physical activity. International Women's Day is the perfect time to re-ignite the dialogue and provide solutions, and CAAWS is proud to be offering this resource to all Canadians."

Women and girls, who account for more than 50 percent of the population of Canada, continue to be underrepresented in the sport and physical activity system. Awareness about biomechanical and physiological considerations unique to women and girls has increased, providing a foundation to improve training methods and competition programs for athletes. However, large gaps persist in knowledge and practice relating to the psycho-social factors that influence women and girls as participants, athletes, coaches, officials, leaders or administrators.

Information in Actively Engaging Women and Girls: Addressing the Psycho-Social Factors will support national, provincial/territorial and community sport and physical activity organizations in enhancing their CS4L/LTAD implementation strategies. It will guide sport and physical activity leaders, coaches, educators and health promoters in developing and implementing quality programs and providing equitable support for women and girls as a priority. Parents and family members will find this resource helpful when making decisions about how to encourage and support the full and active participation of their daughters and female family members.

An advisory team of female leaders, representing different sport and physical activity sectors, contributed to the creation of the resource. Committee members were: Sylvie Béliveau (Canadian Soccer Association, LTPD Manager); Vicki Harber (PhD, Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation, University of Alberta); Louise Humbert, (PhD, Associate Dean, College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan); Penny Werthner (PhD, Director and Associate Dean, School of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa); Karin Lofstrom (Executive Director, Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, CAAWS); Sydney Millar (National Program Director, Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity); Lori Johnstone (Project Manager).

CS4L ( is a movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada. CS4L links the sport, physical activity, recreation, education and health systems, and aligns community, provincial/territorial and national programming. LTAD is a seven-stage training, competition, and recovery pathway that guides an individual's experience in sport and physical activity from infancy through all phases of adulthood. CS4L, with LTAD, represents a paradigm shift in the delivery of sport and physical activity in Canada. CS4L and LTAD are intentionally organic movements - as the concepts evolve, so do the resources that describe and support them.

The resource is available online at

Note: All national sport and multi sport organizations, provincial and territorial sport organizations, and government departments responsible for sport and physical activity will receive English and French hard copies of the resource. Additional copies are available upon request by contacting

CAAWS acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada).


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