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UTSC Olympian hopes to inspire more women to get involved in sports on campus

Olympian and first-year UTSC student Rosie Cossar will lead a subcommittee that focuses on increasing the number of women in sport on campus.

When an on-court presenter asked Canadian Tennis Star Eugenie Bouchard to “twirl” after a match at the Australian Open, she uncomfortably complied. Is this something the presenter would have asked a male athlete to do as well? Bets are: probably not.

“The world of sport is a very patriarchal place, it is very male-dominated. If women do participate it’s not on the same level as men, and they are not appreciated and respected on the same level as men,” says Rosie Cossar, a gymnast who competed for Canada in the 2012 London Olympics and a first-year U of T Scarborough paramedicine student.

This is something Cossar wants to change as she heads the Women in Sports sub-committee, a part of the UTSC Athletics Advisory Committee. The committee was started by Renee Ridout (BA, 2015) and her sister Danielle (JD/MGA 2016) to increase the number women participating in intramural programs.

As an athlete on the UTSC tri-campus intramural women’s basketball team Ridout says, “We noticed cases where we felt that women were overlooked. For instance the women’s basketball team didn’t get as much exposure as the men’s team.”  

Committee leadership is already levelling the playing field: promoting women’s-only hours at the TPASC gym and the introduction of women’s-only soccer intramurals.

“I hope that we can bring more partnerships in the committee, and keep improving the environment for women at TPASC,” says Ridout. Additionally WISC is also interested in producing a space with women role models, through hosting events that highlight their successes in breaking barriers.

“We are lucky at UTSC because we have such a diverse population and I think that’s great,” says Cossar. “And that means there are a lot of women who can benefit from some of those doors opening for them, and having some of that encouragement.”


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