Sport – One in three women drop out of team sport before 17th birthday

The Silver Ferns have inspired Kiwi women women to participate in more team sports. Pic:

New research by haircare brand Pantene has revealed that one in three Kiwi women (33%) stop playing team sports by the age of 17, with almost half (49%) ditching sports by age 20.

The Pantene Women in Sport Study, which looked into Kiwi women’s attitudes towards participation in team sport, found that more than a quarter of Kiwi women cite that lack of self-confidence stops them from playing team sport (27%) – this is more so than family commitments (25%) and work commitments (17%). Lack of time was another reason holding women (30%) back from participation in sport.

Reflecting on their attitudes towards team sport, almost a third (32%) said they believed ‘they weren’t good enough’ to play, with some feeling they were being judged when they played (18%), while others worried about hurting themselves (21%).

Many Kiwi women cited body confidence concerns with 10% saying that they did not like the way they looked when playing sport and 13% felt that sport put their body too much on show.

Almost half (45%) of Kiwi women said they wished they could be more active and two fifths (40%) believed that team sport could improve self-confidence.

Partnering with the New Zealand Netball Silver Ferns – who two thirds (66%) of Kiwi women say have inspired women to participate in more team sports – the Ribbon of Strength campaign aims to encourage more women and girls to stay on courts and fields across the country.

Having already seen success in inspiring women across the ditch, the movement is signified by a ribbon that can be braided into hair as a source of inspiration.

Stephanie Doyle, Pantene Brand Director says: “It’s shocking to find that so many Kiwi women drop out of team sport at such a young age due to self-doubt and concerns around judgement; but strength isn’t about how you look or how many goals you shoot, it’s about what you believe.”

Netball New Zealand Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie says: “Encouraging more women and girls to stay in sport is something we are incredibly passionate about, as these young women around New Zealand are the Ferns of the future.”

Pantene will be distributing the ribbons to women across New Zealand, including grassroots teams and sporting heroes, over the coming weeks.

Anyone keen to get their hands on a ribbon and show support can DM via –

Pantene is also encouraging people to share their personal stories of strength and words of encouragement on social media using the hashtags #WeAreUnbreakable #RibbonOfStrength