Making Space for Girls in our Parks and Public Spaces

Making Space for Girls in our Parks and Public Spaces

Last week I got the chance to talk with Steph Vivier and Ruth Unrau on the Power Hour on 610 CKTB, about the importance of making our parks and public spaces for girls.

As a city or community, when we talk about updating playgrounds or sports facilities within our parks – rarely (if at all) do we think about how girls will use them or how they may feel when using them.  By default most are made for men.

Make Space for Girls, an organization out the the UK, is campaigning for parks and public spaces to be designed for girls and young women, not just boys and young men.  At the heart of their advocacy and research are teenage girls and asking decision makers to include their expert voices in how parks and public spaces are designed.

Research has found that:

  • Girls use parks less than boys
  • Girls face many barriers to using the parks as a space to be active.
  • These barriers comes from: a lack of understanding of the needs of teenage girls in park design; and the way society treats teenage girls if they do go to the park.
  • These barriers stifle the girls’ opportunities to enjoy the amazing public resources that our parks ought to be
  • These barriers limit the rights of teenage girls to enjoy the many health and wellbeing benefits of being outside.

Many of the solutions to these issues are quite simple, straightforward and very achievable.   It is possible but to make our parks and public spaces places where teenage girls not only want to go to but more importantly feel safe it – we just have to want to do it and make it a priority.

Thank you to Steph and Ruth for having me on!