(Insert sport name) is for girls.
(Insert sport name) is for boys.
Yeah, nah. Not for Gen Zs.
At least in several sports where young Australians are finding equality in player participation according our Year13 & Visa PlayOn youth sport research. Interestingly, some of these sports have historically been seen as male or female-dominated sports.
According to the survey the sport with the highest equal participation among males and females in Australia is swimming, with 19% of males and 22% of females dipping their toes in the pool on the regular.
Athletics came in second place, with participation among males and females a dead tie at 14%.
But interestingly, we found that historically male-dominated sports such as surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding have also more or less equalised in terms of participation among young Australians.
In fact, 11% of young males and 7% of young women told us they surf, 6% of males and 5% of females said they skateboard, while 5% of both males and females snowboard.
But what’s behind the participation equalisation that’s smashing stereotypes?
Well, some of the young people our research heard from suggest that’s because board sports are more social than competitive, with the focus being more on having fun than winning a championship.
Take this 15-year-old female from Queensland who got a skateboard a couple of years ago but didn’t really start rolling until her mate got one too.
“Around the end of 2021 I got a skateboard, but I only started using it frequently at the end of 2022 when one of my friends got one as well so I could skate with them,” she said.
“I think that skateboarding is really fun, and I want to get better at it – if I can find time outside of school.”
Meanwhile, bonding also appears to be a motivator, whether that’s between mates, siblings or boyfriends and girlfriends.
A 22-year-old female from NSW said she recently got into skateboarding as it facilitated both a supportive environment and quality time with her boyfriend.
“I’ve recently gotten into skateboarding with my boyfriend, which has been super fun being able to support each other learning it,” she said. To find out more about youth sport in Australia visit the Year13 & Visa PlayOn website.