FIT Communications co-founder Andrea Katz says there are a number of reasons why women and girls leave organized sports or don't get involved in them entirely.
It's an issue her and fellow co-founder Allison Gervais are trying to tackle.
"In Canada girls are six times more likely to drop out of sport than boys by the age of 15," Katz said. "A few of the big reasons girls drop out of sports is a lack of perceived options, cost, social stigmas like being thought of as a 'tomboy' and not seeing enough positive female sport role models in the media."
FIT Communications is offering a $500 grant to whoever wins their Inspiration 2018 Award, which is designed to recognize a woman or girl who is working to be a healthy and positive role model. The grant is intended to support that work, and could go towards things like gym memberships, equipment, training and other costs associated with healthy living.
"I think a huge piece of it is a lack of positive female role models in media," Katz said. "It's not that they're not out there, but they're not necessarily shown on television. Less than five per cent of sports media coverage is done on female athletes, so when a young girl tunes in and wants to see something she can aspire to, she might not see that very often."
"We thought to ourselves, 'let's find these women and girls from across Canada who are doing something inspiring and put them at the forefront, so hopefully they can inspire other women and girls to be more active and get involved in sport."
Citing numbers from the World Health Organization, FIT Communications says one third of women in Canada have insufficient physical activity levels, in comparison to one-quarter of men, which is due to more women dropping out of sports at young ages.
Applications are reserved for women and girls and are open from Oct. 1 to Oct. 29, 2018. The top three selections will be entered into an online voting contest starting Nov. 7, with the winner being announced in late November.
Interested applicants can visit fitcommunications.com.