How to keep girls in the game after puberty


Story highlights

By age 17, most girls (51%) will have quit sports, according to a new survey

Survey: 7 out of 10 girls who quit sports after puberty didn't feel like they belonged

Sixty-one percent of female executives said sports contributed to their career success

Editor’s Note: Kelly Wallace is CNN’s digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter @kellywallacetv.

CNN —  

When I ask my girls, ages 8 and 10, what they want to be when they grow up, my younger daughter says a professional athlete (she’s not sure which sport just yet!) and my older daughter says an Olympian in track and field. With those goals, I simply cannot imagine they won’t be playing sports throughout middle and high school and beyond.

But the numbers tell a different story.

By the age of 14, girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

And by age 17, after most girls have gone through puberty, more than half of girls – 51% – will have quit sports, according to a survey sponsored by Always, a maker of sanitary pads.