Guelph, Ont. – The University of Guelph's Department of Athletics has been a staunch supporter of gender equity and engaging women in sport for decades. A new initiative called She's Got Game is helping the department take that support to a new level. Built on three pillars – engagement, policy and fundraising – She's Got Game provides the foundation for Gryphon Athletics in its quest to encourage women in sport and help them acquire the tools necessary to succeed both on and off the field of play.
By attracting the best and brightest female student-athletes, the University will continue to develop world-class athletes, world-class scholars, and world-class citizens.
"The University of Guelph has a long history of offering a thriving women's athletics program," said Director of Athletics Scott McRoberts. "She's Got Game is the next step in continuing and building on that legacy that was created by so many amazing women, who were influential athletes, coaches, or staff members over the decades.
"We are proud of the strong Gryphon culture but we want to lead the way as role models both for our institution and community, and help shape the conversation around women in sport. We have seen first hand the impact that influential female athletes can have. And She's Got Game will only bring that to another level."
Participation in athletics creates life and leadership skills that student-athletes will bring with them into competition and keep with them when they leave the University of Guelph. The sports require proper funding. The ultimate financial goal of She's Got Game is to raise $2.5-million, which will be used to support the Guelph Gryphons female athletics program and the development of young athletes so that they succeed in all areas. To date, $750,000 has been raised.
In addition to funding female scholarships, the Department of Athletics is committed to gender equity through policy, engagement, and addressing culture change. The department has developed new policy on coaching compensation and has mandated that all female athletes and teams have the same support and access to services as their male counterparts.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Cassie Campbell-Pascall believes that it's time that universities devote the same resources and efforts to women's programs as they do for men's. And the former Gryphon hockey player is proud that her alma mater is taking the issue of equity seriously.
"The University of Guelph was a leader in female sports many, many years ago and they've just enhanced that leadership as they continued to grow," said Campbell-Pascall. "They have supported female athletics. When I was here, it wasn't just women's hockey. The women's soccer team and women's basketball team were great. They really were inclusive.
"The biggest impact She's Got Game will have is when people are making decisions about finances and where to allocate them. It won't just be about male sports anymore. The decision makers will have to abide what She's Got Game stands for."
The Department of Athletics has received direct support from the University of Guelph. In February of 2018, the University committed to providing a total of $225,000 over the next three years to help fund the women's athletics program.
"Opportunities for women in sport decrease after the completion of high school so university athletics plays a critical role in encouraging women to continue competing at a high level," said Charlotte Yates, the University of Guelph's Provost and Vice-President (Academic).
"She's Got Game will assist in facilitating more opportunities by providing the resources for Gryphon athletes to excel in their chosen sport, while also being role models for young girls, who can see what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication."
Visit www.shesgotgame.ca to learn more about the initiative.