04th Jul 2019
Cori Gauff (15) beat her idol, and five-time Wimbledon champion, Venus Williams on Tuesday at the prestigious tournament. She is now through to round three after beating Magdalena Rybarikova the day after. As the youngest person ever to qualify for Wimbledon, we look at how she is an incredible role model for teenage girls.
Puberty, peer pressure and boys are a few reasons why many girls ditch their favourite sports when they enter their teenage years. At the age of 14, approximately half of all Irish girls drop out of sport, according to a study conducted by Lidl and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association in 2017.
Upon entering teenagehood, many girls feel like it is ‘un-feminine’ to play sport, or that the encouragement that boys are given is not as readily available. A heavy school workload is also another reason that many girls drop the ball or give up the hockey stick.
With the many benefits of sport, this attitude in Ireland needs to change; and is partly the reason for projects such as the 20×20 campaign — a movement aiming to “shift Ireland’s cultural perception of women’s sport” by 2020. It aims for a 20% increase in media coverage of women in sport, a 20% increase in female participation at all levels of sport and a 20% increase in attendance at women’s games and events.
Their slogan is “If she can’t see it, she can’t be it” — very apt when it comes to Gauff, who has proven herself as a great role model for teenage girls.
Orla O’Loughlin, who coaches children’s and teenage tennis lessons through Hugh’s Tennis Academy in Donabate in Dublin, says that much more girls tend to drop out of the sport in their teenage years compared to boys.
“Sport is so important for teenagers — not only for health reasons but also for their development and the community aspect too. I think the reason why many teenagers stop playing sport is because of their peers. If their friends aren’t playing sport, then they won’t either” she said.
Orla thinks that Cori Gauff is a great role model for teenage girls to have.
“A professional tennis player is always going to be a role model for younger tennis players, but I think because she is so young they can identify with her more. I hope she doesn’t just inspire current tennis players to strive for their goals but also encourages teenage girls to give the sport a try” she added.
It is important to note that tennis is one of the few sports that garner relatively similar attention to both men and women. According to the BBC, 4.5 million tuned in for their coverage of the men’s singles final in 2018 while 4.6 million tuned in for the women’s singles final.
Tennis was one of the first major sports which was seen as acceptable for women to play. This could be why the game seems to be years ahead of other sports in terms of their coverage on women’s tournaments. It may also be that often tennis players like Serena and Venus Williams are not only sports stars but celebrity personalities in their own rights, encouraging more people to tune in.
Hopefully, with the likes of Cori Gauff we will see more teenage girls not only take up tennis but sports in general. Paired with the continuation of the 20×20 campaign, an increase in coverage and encouragement of women in sport would be an amazing outcome.
Featured Image: Javier García/BPI/REX/Shutterstock
Read more: The sexist commentary at Wimbledon remains a huge problem
Read more: Things Fall Apart: The importance of giving yourself a break from ‘the everyday’
Read more: Race style: Rachael Blackmore talks racing, role models and runners
A life of wearing the wrong underwear had Sophie White’s knickers in a twist. She reports on the unexpected satisfaction...
The BRIT Awards took place over in London last night, welcoming the who’s who of the music world inside the...
‘Suddenly alive again’: The heartbreaking joy of finding a deceased loved one on Google Maps street view
“I look at my mum’s old house on Google maps street view, the house where I grew up. It says...
Attracting bees to your outdoor patch is a cinch, with a little forward-planning. We speak to two flower growers in...
Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...
There’s a reason we love being reminded of things that happened in our past. Amanda Cassidy explores why our trips...
Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...