Maintain a Safe Space

A primary focus of every sport programme for girls should be maintaining a safe space. It can be especially important to ask girls if they want to share their space with boys before trying to integrate boys. The same is true for integrating girls into programmes previously run solely for boys. This means that all children must feel emotionally and physically safe and comfortable at all times. Maintaining the integrity of this space means holding all participants to the same standards of confidentiality and conduct during discussions. In some communities, this might mean allowing girls to wear pants while playing in the presence of boys if wearing shorts around boys is socially prohibited. Coaches and programme directors should monitor this carefully and proactively address any indications that girls are becoming hesitant or reserved. It might also be necessary to create a participants’ code of conduct, which ensures both boys and girls understand the need for respect. For more information, please seethe  Safe Spaces section.