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International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women in many domains. It is a day to centre the women’s rights movement, elevating the much-needed attention to issues such as gender equity, reproductive rights and violence and abuse against women. This year’s theme is about Embracing Equity to get the world thinking and talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough. International Women’s Day highlights sport as a part of this with their mission for Women and Sport: to celebrate women athletes and applaud when equality is achieved in pay, sponsorship and visibility. International Women’s Day is about taking action to make changes in our communities, and sport is an essential part of this. Within the Fast and Female community, we value our REAL (Relatable, Empowered, Active Leaders) Role Models and their impact on girls in sport. Role models are an important piece of keeping girls in sport. In fact, 80% of girls would stay in sport if they had role models (Canadian Women & Sport, 2022). This is why REAL Role Models are the heart of our programs.
What does it mean to be a role model?
Role models help to empower girls to develop skills within and outside of sport. They demonstrate leadership qualities and different life paths to show girls what’s possible. Being a role model is about setting an example of being active in their community. Role models can be Olympic and Paralympic athletes, teachers, community leaders and moms. Role models with diverse representation are important to represent the community they are in. Role models working within their own communities show girls the potential they have. You can’t be what you can’t see. We want to highlight a few outstanding REAL Role Models in our community:
Tasha Belix, Registered Psychologist, speaker and author
Tasha is a child psychologist in Alberta, focusing on girls aged 8-15. Using her expertise with mental health coupled with the stresses and pressures girls face every day, Tasha creates programs to help girls develop coping skills and build stronger relationships. Tasha Belix has been a REAL Role Model with Fast and Female and has contributed to curriculum development about setting boundaries and how to use your voice. Along with sharing her own and other role models’ experiences, she teaches girls about finding their confidence. Tasha is a woman of many hats, and on top of it all, she always tries to set an example of what a strong woman looks like for her daughters.
Maeghen Cotterill, entrepreneur
Maeghan is the owner of 5 Elements Martial Arts in Calgary, Alberta. She has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years, earning many awards in the sport. Her experience as a role model includes being on Team Canada, coaching Team Canada athletes and founding the Global Women in Martial Arts Initiative. Maeghan demonstrates leadership in her many roles as an instructor, business owner, founder and member of many influential organizations. She continues to share her knowledge with women across Canada and the world.
Youth Advisory Council
Our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is made up of 16 members from six provinces and two territories.
Members are self-identified girls ages 13-17. Our youth members bridge the gap to help us deliver programming that engages youth. YAC acts as one of our greatest role models because they are setting examples in their communities by spearheading initiatives like popup events and empowering their own community groups and teams.
We appreciate all of our REAL Role Models and the role models in our lives and everything they do to support us. Happy International Women’s Day!