Actively underway with La Lancée

While some girls and women are athletic or outdoor enthusiasts, others have little interest in such pursuits. For example, in Quebec, only 15% of girls aged 12 to 17 report having been physically active in their leisure time in the past year. Regrettably, this points to a disconcerting proportion of girls and women who do not participate in physical activities.

Fortunately, a wind of change is blowing, instilled by the La Lancée movement! Proud to contribute to the launch of this new player, Sépaq is delighted to let Marianne Lacharité-Lemieux, consultant at M361, tell you about the ways in which this collective commitment is taking shape and how it contributes to work already underway.

Jeanne Rondeau-Ducharme | © Sépaq

A movement is launched

Officially inaugurated on October 21, 2021, La Lancée has sport, outdoor activities, and physical exercise for girls and women in its sights. Supported by the government of Quebec and implemented by M361 in partnership with FitSpirit and Égale Action, this initiative is designed to promote the advancement of girls and women in these sectors as well as their participation and leadership.

“In Quebec, this is the first time that sport, outdoor activities, and physical exercise, three major vectors in the development of girls and women in society, have been combined. The goal of La Lancée is not to replace recognized expertise. On the contrary! Our desire is to make specialists shine by providing concrete tools, evocative content, powerful texts, and positive role models, both female and male. Gathering information on a single platform allows us to be strong, together, in the achievement of our common goals: to mobilize, to engage, to inspire. Speaking as a good sports analyst, I would say that La Lancée is giving a tape-to-tape pass to its teammates!” enthusiastically explains Ms. Lacharité-Lemieux.

© Sépaq
Mathieu Lachapelle | © Sépaq
Steve Deschênes | © Sépaq
© Sépaq

A matter of self-confidence

Although the goal of the project is for girls and women to achieve their potential through sport, outdoor activities, and physical exercise, La Lancée is aimed more at decision-makers – presidents, managers, senior executives, and stakeholders – including federations, coaches, teachers, and guides. By working directly with these major players, the initiative makes sure to reach its target clientele in order to continue to show them the many benefits and pleasures of growing up active.

“When we realize that 62% of girls in Canada do not participate in any sport and of this percentage, 43% mention that the quality of sports instruction is a barrier to their participation, or that 1 in 3 teenage girls will give up her favorite sport, compared to 1 in 10 boys, the conclusion is clear: things have got to change!” she reports.

This statistical profile is also apparent among sports professionals. “Barely 30% of coaches are female, and the percentage is not much higher among adventure guides (40 %). Also, in Quebec, in 2019, only 1 out of 19 outdoor federation presidencies was held by a woman. A number of factors contribute to these statistics, but the biggest obstacle remains self-confidence,” specifies Ms. Lacharité-Lemieux. Many organizations and partners have been working on this very important element for a long time and their efforts are now bearing fruit.

“The last few years have shown the extent to which outdoor activity fosters self-confidence,” she adds. And the growth of female communities of practice confirms, in particular, that an obvious need was crying out to be addressed. Les Chèvres de montagne (hiking, climbing, survival, and the like); The Pink Water Community (whitewater excursions); and the Muddbunnies (mountain biking) are good examples of these communities of practice. In their own way, they shape this nurturing space where young women can come together, train, and take up challenges, without feeling judged. A learning environment that makes a difference! Especially since the women at the head of these organizations are excellent models of positive leaders.

Jeanne Rondeau-Ducharme | © Sépaq
© Sépaq

What to expect in the years ahead?

Ms. Lacharité-Lemieux has a fervent wish: “That La Lancée will be innovative enough to create a new normal! Ten years from now, thanks to sustained efforts by all concerned, I would like to see a complete change in the statistics! That through mobilization, by being listened to and heard, we’ll see women evolve and  flourish in their sector, whichever one they choose!”

Until then, the M361 organization and its acolytes will be hard at work, rolling out La Lancée through a multitude of activities and events featuring renowned experts and personalities where everyone will play a role in offering girls and women more opportunities to realize their potential and pursue their own destiny.

For more inspiration:

La Lancée
Égale Action


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