There has been an increase in the number of girls participating in football, thanks to a "positive shift in attitude among parents", according to new research by energy provider SSE.
The first SSE Girls Sport Participation Survey reveals that parents now see football as having desirable qualities and something they would be happy for their daughters to take part in.
The survey – which explored parental attitudes to sport and football – shows that 78 per cent of parents see football as a way to being part of a team and getting physically active.
And while dads are generally happier than mums for their daughters to get involved in football, younger mums (aged 40 and less) are most likely to disagree that ‘football is a sport for boys’.
When it comes to football careers being achievable for their daughters, it is younger parents who are more likely to agree. While dads are more comfortable when it comes to feeling achievable, it is mums who are most likely to agree that there should be no limits to progress.
“The findings demonstrate the importance of programmes designed to introduce girls into football," said Baroness Sue Campbell, director of Women’s Football at the Football Association (FA).
“It's also great to see that parents are now seeing football as a potential career for their daughters, whether that be on or off the pitch.
"The FA Women’s Super League, our top tier of women’s football kicks off on Sunday 9 September as Europe’s only fully professional league.
“We hope many young girls will be inspired by these role models, with aspirations to one day emulate their success, be that as a player or in many of the supportive roles available such as a coach, nutritionist, physiotherapist or referee, just to name a few."
The survey was commissioned by SSE, which currently sponsor the Women’s FA Cup and also delivers girls’ participation programmes in England and Scotland.
“Our first ever SSE Girls Sport Participation survey has revealed a step change in the attitudes parents have towards football in the context of their daughters playing, watching and working in the sport and significantly this is being driven by a new generation of younger mums and dads," said Colin Banks, SSE's head of sponsorship.
Joe FitzPatrick, minister for public health, sport and wellbeing, added: “It's encouraging to see the increased enthusiasm of parents for their daughters to participate in sport generally and in football in particular.
"The benefits of sport and physical activity are clear through improved physical and mental health and confidence."
To download and read the full report, click here.
First published: www.sportparksleisure.com, written by Tom Walker, 29 August 2018