Farrer & Co Women in Sport - Report - Page 6
facts on the
The London 2012 Olympics was widely
seen as a turning point for women’s sport,
promising a “sporting legacy for all”.
In all, 17 UK women won a gold medal,
as individuals or as a team, including
some of Team GB’s most high-profile
wins. There was extensive media
coverage to match the medal tally.
But, despite the new promise
for women in sport, the gender
“participation gap” persisted; huge gaps
between male and female participation,
to the tune of two million, were
recorded in 2014.
In 2015, the “Understanding Women’s
Lives” report was published by the
charity Women in Sport. Drawing on
Sport England figures, it revealed that
7.1 million women between the ages
of 14 and 40 want to take part in more
sport or physical activity.
Why were they not taking part in
sport to the degree they wanted to –
or even at all?
The report explored the idea that
many women feel “traditional” sport is
not relevant to them, and that gymbased classes and fitness is where most
time is spent. It concluded that women’s
decision making in this area is informed
by a complex value system spanning
a range of factors, and that sport
needs to adjust the way it engages
with women if it is to remove perceived
barriers and encourage them to commit
More recent figures from Sport England
indicate that its high-profile “This Girl
Can” campaign has had a significant
impact on the numbers of women
participating in sport on a regular
basis. In 2016, figures show that 7.2
million women now play sport and
undertake regular physical activity,
an increase of 250,000 from when
the campaign began.
At this time, Sport England put the
“participation gap” at some 1.55 million,
rather than the two million figure
recorded two years before. The
successful “This Girl Can” campaign is
now entering its third phase. This phase
seeks to respond to the fact that 40% of
women aged 16 and over are not active
enough to get the full health benefits of
sport and physical activity, compared to
35% of men.
Sport England has made reaching
out to women of all backgrounds
and ethnicities the focus of this stage.
The intention is to make the original
campaign as inclusive as possible.
One particular aim is to increase
participation among women doing
routine, lower-paid work. This group
is more than twice as likely to
of women aged 16 and over are not
active enough to get the full health
benefits of sport and physical activity
Women in Sport – Levelling the playing field