Lets hear it for the girls

Posted: August 10, 2011 by guerillastrc in Uncategorized

2011 has certainly been a milestone year for Guerillas. The most obvious aspects of this have been our sponsorship agreement with activitymix, a significant increase in player numbers, lots of new players being introduced to the sport and big step up in on-field performances across all teams.

However a less obvious trend has been a swing towards a more even gender balance. Historically we’ve always had a male/female split of about 60%/40%. This has worked well with having one mens team and two mixed teams competing in the Aberdeen leagues. However active player numbers currently stand at roughly a 50/50 even split of men and women. This is a positive shift in several areas. This is the first year the club has been able to submit entries for two mixed teams to weekend tournaments, and we’ve managed this on three separate occasions. Whereas in previous years we have been limited in team entries due to a lack of girls the step towards a third league team was as much driven by the number of female players we had as anything else.

 The guys are starting to get outnumbered

Furthermore the composition of these tournament teams has been a fairly even male/female split. Despite the fact that we’ve been running a mens team in parallel with the mixed teams the attendance at league night has been an equal number of guys and girls. The girls have also shown a slightly better commitment to training nights!

So is this increase in number of female players reflected in the sport across the country? This year we have seen the more established clubs such as Stirling, Superhands and Leopards also being able to turn out two mixed teams to weekend events. That’s only possible where you have a large pool of female players to draw from. However at the national level Scotland had 7 teams competing at the World Cup in Edinburgh this summer; 4 mens, 1 mixed and 2 womens. This gave approximately a 65%/35% gender split. However it is worth noting that there were fewer categories available for women to play in (>35 and >40 being men only) and Scotland was one of only two countries to register a womens over 30s team (several countries had a mixed over 30s instead). Further analysis shows that the competition for places in the womens teams was much greater than in previous years so there does appear to be a general trend towards more women playing the sport.

 Not all new recruits were French, but they all enjoyed the Scottish summer.

So given there has not been a particular initiative within the club to recruit more female players is there an underlying reason for increased participation? This is a difficult question to answer. A significant number of new recruits come through word of mouth, also our website generates a good number of new contacts each year (try Googling; Aberdeen mixed team sports…). But there is no outstanding reason why the larger number of newer players this year have been female. Maybe there is a general increase in women participating in team sports and touch is an attractive option. The sport gives the rare opportunity of being able to compete on an even footing alongside and against male players, where fitness and skill are the important factors and size and strength almost irrelevant.

 Guerillas Scotland representatives

So what does this point to in the future? Well one area to look at for next season would be to establish a Guerillas womens team. Although several of our girls competed in all womens teams in the Aberdeen mens league there is not yet an opportunity to compete in an womens league in Aberdeen. Hopefully this is something that can be seriously considered in 2012. The main stumbling block would appear to be that perhaps only one other club would be able to turn out a sufficient number of female players. However there must be scope for some alliances between teams to make a womens league viable.

Given that the opportunities for women to compete at national level (representing Aberdeen), and most of those at international level, come in all women teams it would be an important step for touch in the north east of Scotland to provide a forum to allow further development of female players in a womens league.

Whatever the reasons behind the increased number of women playing the sport it’s a positive trend for the club and for touch in general!

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