Girls, especially those living in poverty, are often responsible for assisting in caretaking at home, including watching children, doing chores, cooking and cleaning1. In addition, many adolescent girls fill the rest of their day in school or working paid jobs. Participation in a sport programme might not fit easily into a girl’s already full schedule, consisting largely of other’s expectations for and demands on an adolescent girl’s time. Girls are often afforded only a little, if any, leisure time after their daily chores and caretaking responsibilities are over. Many cultures see leisure as an activity worthy of men who work to support the family, whereas the work women do in the home is not seen as work, and therefore women do not need to relax or have some time for themselves.
- When possible, schedule training sessions and events around the majority of a girl's home responsibilities. Consider this both on a weekly and seasonal basis. In agricultural communities, harvest and planting seasons might require you to negotiate scheduling differently than growing or dormant seasons. In religious communities, it will be important to make accommodations for holy days and regular worship.
- If it's not possible to work around girls' external commitments, be flexible in your understanding of the importance of this piece of a girl's life. Can you allow her to bring a younger sibling to a training session? Is it possible for a girl to make up a lesson or workout if she cannot attend with the rest of the group?
- In some cases, it might be helpful to organise sport programmes close to water fountains or firewood supply. This allows girls to participate in sport activities and return home with a filled water jug or a load of firewood, which is considered a productive contribution to the household.
- Ask teachers to leave you an hour before school ends to run your sport programme, thereby not taking up the girls’ time dedicated to other responsibilities.
1. Koivula, N. (2001). Perceived Characteristics of Sports Categorized as Gender-Neutral, Feminine and Masculine. Journal of Sport and Behaviour, 24, page 378..