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A Checklist for Girl-Centered Sports Environments

Program leaders and coaches should consider using the following checklist regularly to ensure they are providing the right environment for girls. Coaches should share how they think they are doing and what support they need from the program leaders. Program leaders should share feedback about where they see coaches being successful and ask how they can be more supportive.

Safe, Welcoming Space & Team Culture

  • Girls are safe when arriving at practice or games. Entrance and activity space are hazard- free, well-lit and appropriately supervised.

  • Girls’ bathrooms are accessible and appropriately stocked. Garbage cans and hygiene products are accessible.

  • Girls are actively and intentionally welcomed to the space and included in activities.

  • Girls see pictures of adult role models who look like or have a similar gender identity to them.

  • Girls see adults who look like them when they participate in sports.

  • Girls have the opportunity to be active in space that is reserved just for them.

  • Bathrooms and locker rooms provide girls with privacy; girls are not required to change in common space.

Appropriate Equipment

  • Girls have access to sports equipment that works for them: the right size, appropriate to the rules of their sport, etc.

  • Girls have access to personal items, like sports bras, hair ties and sneakers or cleats, which enable them to participate in sports. If they don’t have these items, the coach or program leader attempts to secure these items on their behalf.

Inclusive Language

  • Girls (and boys) are referred to in gender-neutral terms. Coaches don’t refer to all players as “guys.”

  • Girls hear coaches refer to a variety of positive athlete role models across the gender spectrum- when naming teams or giving examples of great performances.

  • Girls hear coaches acknowledge important female sports events, like WNBA playoffs, the U.S. Open, or the Women’s World Cup.

  • Coaches use the pronouns with which each player on the team identifies; Coaches share their pronouns with team to establish a norm of proper pronoun use.

Time to Reflect

  • Girls have the chance to reflect on their experiences in formal and informal ways.

  • Girls have the chance to provide feedback to the coaches about their experiences.

  • Girls see their coaches reflect on their bias about girls in sport and actively work to change it.

  • Girls see their coaches intervene when they hear comments or see actions that minimize girls’ ability to participate in sports.


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