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Why sports bras?

 

1. Expense

For many, a sports bra is a luxury.

When resources are limited, our basic human needs -- food, water, educational fees -- take priority over luxuries like sports equipment. 

“The majority of households that we are working with are living in poverty where they struggle to feed all their children twice a day," said Jordan Palmer, of Akwaaba Volunteers in Ghana. "Many young girls don't have a standard bra to wear to school let alone a sports bra. The cost of a sports bra is around 20-30 [Ghanaian cedi]. This amount of money could feed your entire family for three days.”

 

2. Limited availability

Bras are unavailable, or just out of reach.

While there are countries in the world where a sports bra is easy to find, that isn’t the case everywhere.

“Sports Bras in Uganda are rare to find for common people," said Majidah Nantanda, Head Coach of the Uganda Women’s National Football Team, CAF Coach Instructor, and Co-Founder of Growing the Game for Girls. "They are only found in expensive sports shops that many people can’t access or afford."

 

3. Societal expectations

For many girls, household comes first.

The expectation in many countries is that from an early age, girls and women should take responsibility for all domestic duties, including cooking, child care, care of the home and extended family. This often prevents them from participating in sports.

“It is still an expectation that young girls will take on household roles," said Jordan Palmer, of Akwaaba Volunteers in Ghana. "After school, girls will go home to help with cooking, cleaning and working to help bring in more money. While they are not actively discouraged from sports many parents do not see the value of girls participating when they have other tasks to take care of.”

 

Sports for boys and men takes priority.

Because cultural expectations often prevent girls and women from participating in sports, the programming that would provide opportunities to play often do not exist. As a result the limited sports equipment available may be prioritized for male athletes. In addition, the uniquely female equipment need for a sports bra for support and coverage is often simply not considered.

4. Opportunity gaps

 

Why it matters

Beyond the health benefits, participation in sports provides a sense of community and opportunities to learn about teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and developing new skills.  Countless studies and reports have shown the benefits of participating in sports. Participation builds self-confidence, selfesteem and empowers girls.

"I've seen how important a role sport has in creating pathways for girls and women in developing countries where sport is valued more than females," said Lisa Berg M.S., Co-Founder of Growing the Game for Girls and Professional Coach/Instructor.  "So when you allow women to play those sports then their value increases and they are now allowed to be seen. The community sees women can contribute in untraditional ways and it creates momentum for gender equality in other areas of society as well. Sport is also a proving ground for a girl to breakdown barriers she puts on herself. By performing physical skills she didn't think she could do, she gains confidence and with higher self-esteem she begins to breakdown beliefs and start to try to do things in other areas of her life."