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Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity  – Toronto, March 8, 2018 – The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport (CAAWS) encourages everyone to celebrate girls and women in sport and to #PressForProgress this International Women’s Day and throughout the year.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year, the global theme is #PressForProgress.

“Closing the gender gap in sport will make a direct and powerful contribution to closing the gap for women in all areas of society. It starts with making sport and physical activity in Canada more equitable and inclusive,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CEO of CAAWS. “We all have a role to play. What will your legacy be?”

Powerful movements, such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, reflect frustration with the lack of recognition and respect for women and the slow pace of change across sectors. Sport is implicated in these movements, and with good reason: within Canadian sport, stories and statistics clearly show that gender still fundamentally influences the quality and quantity of opportunities, with girls and women left on the sidelines far too often. This not only holds women back in sport and society, but also comes at a cost to the sport system.

“The inclusion conversation should no longer be a question of why, but of how,” commented Sandip Lalli, CAAWS Board Chair. “This is a sport issue, not a women’s issue. Everyone gains from the inclusion of women’s talents and contributions within sport. And, in our values-based sport system, we all have the responsibility and the capacity to be a champion for inclusion.”

Positive strides are being made. The Government of Canada’s recent budget announcement for women and sport is a welcomed measure, and provincial governments from coast to coast are reviewing and adapting their frameworks to better account for gender. Organizations at all levels of the system are taking action to different degrees, some generating promising practices with the potential for real impact.

Equity will be elusive, however, until everyone in the system—coaches, parents, administrators, board members, officials and more—uses their influence to make the system more welcoming and inclusive for girls and women.

To mark International Women’s Day this year, CAAWS joined forces with viaSport, ProMotion Plus and BC Soccer to host a special #LevelTheField event in Vancouver on the afternoon of March 8th . The event aims to elevate sport through gender inclusion, with a focus on strategies for advancing women in sport leadership. As part of this, CAAWS is presenting a workshop on the Female Coach Mentorship Model, developed in partnership with the Coaching Association of Canada.

Visit to learn more about women and sport in Canada and to take action. For global International Women’s Day information and resources, visit


CAAWS is dedicated to creating an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system that empowers girls and women—as active participants and leaders—within and through sport. With a focus on systemic change, we partner with governments, organizations and leaders to challenge the status quo and to advance solutions that result in measurable change. Follow @CAAWS on Twitter and on Facebook. — 30 — Contact: Terri Temelini Manager of Projects and Communications Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity 416-901-0484 |