School children forming a hand stack in a pe lesson

What’s Your Little One Made Of?

Creating a new generation of male allies for girls in sport


Women in Sport has been challenging gender inequality in sport for forty years. We know that throughout their lives women and girls face negative attitudes and behaviours from some boys and men, whether conscious or unconscious. This is particularly evident in sport.

Our latest research reveals that boys as young as five have learnt that sport is not for girls. Boys are surrounded by expectations that to be masculine they must be good at sport, strong and dominant.

“When boys are grown up they work and exercise. When girls grow up, they have to stay at home and make food.” (Primary school boy)

"Boys will be boys.""She's a girly girl."









Sport is not valued for girls in the same way, which means that most young girls don’t learn skills like catching, throwing and kicking. So it’s hardly surprising that when girls and boys then meet at primary school the boys will dominate both in the playground and in sport. Boys see sport, football in particular, as fundamental to their identity. They don’t think girls can help them win.

The result is that girls are made to feel they don’t belong in sport. Their self-belief is undermined, and their confidence is gradually eroded. Ultimately, this stereotyping will exclude most girls from sport.

The problem is that gender stereotyping can be invisible, meaning we as adults unknowingly pass the same messages down to our children, generation after generation. We are unaware of the impact this has.

To get the nation talking we launched a campaign…

Play video Sexist boy masterclass

Sexist Boy Masterclass

Boys will be boys!

Boys don’t cry, never!

Be a man.

Three of the most powerful tools to turn boys into adorable little sexists.

Play video Insecure Girls masterclass

Insecure Girl Masterclass

“Don’t get dirty!”

“Be careful!”

“Girls don’t do that!”

Three of the most powerful tools to make your daughter insecure.


We wanted to wake people up to the messages we are surrounding our children with, and the consequences.

The reality is that society is running Insecure Girl and Sexist Boy Masterclasses every day. We are doing this at home, at school and in community sport. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

We want boys, and the men they will become, to be agents of change for girls and women in sport, and in life. Our girls’ futures depend on it.

We can all smash stereotypes

We have created research-led guides for parents, primary school teachers and coaches on how to avoid stereotyping children. These practical tools will help to create environments that foster mutual respect between boys and girls. 


Explore our resourcesParents resourceTeachers resourceCoaches resource

Read our research

Donate to Women in Sport

If we want raise a generation free of limiting gender stereotypes, it’s going to take more than a village. We need everyone on board.