Women and sport: Why we must stand up for the disadvantaged

Photo of Jane AshworthJane Ashworth, Chief Executive of national sports charity, StreetGames, argues that the DCMS Inquiry on Women and Sport must not forget those who stand to benefit most: disadvantaged young women.

Last week, the Culture, Media and Sport select committee's call for evidence on Women and Sport in the UK closed. The committee is investigating what barriers remain to women’s participation in sport and how to overcome them.

I am delighted to see government taking this issue seriously and look forward to reading the full findings. We hope the committee will take into account the specific needs of young women from disadvantaged communities.

All members of society would benefit from participating in sport more often but those from disadvantaged communities – where health inequalities are greatest and where participation in sport is lowest – would benefit most from more people taking up an active lifestyle.

Today, disadvantaged young people can expect to live almost eight years less than their more affluent peers. Sport is a key way to address this.

Yet, young people from disadvantaged areas participate in sport far less than their more affluent peers and this gap is even greater for young women from disadvantaged areas.

This issue was highlighted by the latest data from Sport England’s Active People Survey 7 which showed that 49% of females aged 16-25 years from the top 20% highest socio-economic groups take part in sport at least once a week – while only 36% do so from the bottom 20% lowest socio-economic groups.

Part of the problem is that the current sporting offer does not always appeal to young women who have limited experience in playing sport. We also know that women who have limited or no previous sporting experience are unlikely to visit traditional sport settings and venues.

If you make a sports offer sound rough and sweaty, then, the not-very-sporty woman will be turned off. Tie in the sport with fitness, health, lifestyle and a strong social aspect, and then she might join in.

Photo of Us Girls logoIt’s just over two years since we created Us Girls, a programme supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and designed to engage with disadvantaged young women. In this relatively short period, we have generated a wealth of knowledge and insight into how these young women want to engage in sport.

We have consulted with tens of thousands of young women across the UK which has shown us that there are many psychological/confidence related barriers to women participating in sport.

We have found that interventions aimed at engaging females are much more likely to succeed if they include elements aimed at raising confidence, self-esteem and body image as well as tacking physical barriers.

The young women are telling us that they want sport that is less formal, relaxed and is based on friendship groups and fun. We have therefore created programmes that combine these factors plus other elements our target audience want from a session including: delivery by an empathetic coach or leader, sociable and non-pressured sessions which showcase multiple activities, incorporate music and are female only.

Adapting the sporting offer to meet the preferences of this hard to reach group of women has returned positive results. Over the last two years Us Girls has engaged more than 34,481 young women (aged 16-25) in sport and an additional 8,800 under 16s/over 25s. Around 40% of the girls were not doing any sport or fitness before joining the Us Girls programme.

Yes, we have made positive strides there is much more to learn and achieve.

Our work with the national governing bodies is an example of how learning can be shared to successfully engage more women in sport. We have been working closely with The FA and England Handball to help them increase female participation within their sports.

For example, Us Girls has delivered training to The FA's regional management staff and to 200 football development officers that deliver the sport locally.

It’s critical that all organisations involved in, or that have an interest in women and sport, collectively work together to keep this issue on the agenda and get more girls in this country engaged in sport. We await the DCMS committee's findings with a great sense of anticipation.

Find out more about Us Girls.

Read more Sport and Recreation Alliance blogs.


Coach Cross Body Purses Coach.com Outlet Coach Outlet Handbags Bags Purses Outlet Stores -80%Off- Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Online Coach Outlet Store Online Coach Outlet York Offer Coach Factory Outlet Save Big At Coach Outlet Stores Coach Outlet Online Coach Store Nearest You Coach Outlet Coach Outlet Store Coach Outlet Online Coach Factory Outlet Fall 2014 Coach Factory Save Big At Coach Outlet Stores Coach Handbags Outlet Coach Handbags And Other Designer Coach Factory Outlet Coach Factory Fall 2014 Coach Outlet Online Coach Outlet York Offer Coach Outlet Store Online Coach Outlet Store bags Coach Outlet Coach Outlet Store Online Fall 2014 Coach Outlet Online Ohio State Strength Coach Coach Outlet Online Ohio State Strength Coach Coach Outlet Coach Outlet USA Coach Black Friday Coach Outlet Line Store Coach Shoes, Handbags, Flats, Boots, Flip flops Coach Factory Coach Factory Outlet Kate Spade Outlet Online Kate Spade New York Handbags Kate Spade Handbags Amaz On Kate Spade Handbags Kate Spade Outlet Online Kate Spade Online Shopping Kate Spade Cyber Monday Kate Spade Black Friday Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors. Sign In Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Store 60 % Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Or Ln-Store Tiffany and co Tiffany co Star Lariat Necklace Jewelry Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors. Sign In Michael Kors Black Friday Black Friday Michaels Ad Michael Kors Handbags Sale Now Save Up To 68% Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Apparel Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet 49.00 Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online Sale Now Save Up To 68% Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors. Sign In Louis Vuiton Outlet Louis Vuiton Outlet Stores Louis Vuitton Louis Vuitton Store Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Bags And Purses Louis Vuitton Outlet Stores Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store LV Bags Louis Vuitton Handbags Louis Vuitton malletier Louis Vuitton Black Friday Louis Vuitton Outlet Deals Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Store Malletier Prada Outlet Prada S.p.A. Is An Italian luxury Prada Handbags Prada Handbags at Bluefly Prada Black Friday Cheap Prada Outlet Online Handbags On Clearance Marc By Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs Handbags Celine Handbags Celine Handbags Nordstrom Celine Handbags How Much Are Celine Handbags Ray Ban Sunglasses Shop Ray Ban Sunglasses Online Oakley Sunglasses Cheap Oakleys Sunglasses Outlet Store USA With High Quality Ray-Ban Sunglasses Ray-Ban Is The Global Leader In Premium Eyewear Ray Ban Sunglasses Free Overnight Shipping & Returns Ray Ban Sunglasses Ray Ban Your Online Sunglasses Store Ray Ban Black Friday Ray Ban Black And Red Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Including Holbrook Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Outket Up To Oakley Vault Oakley Creates Free Oakley Black Friday 100% Authentic Oakley Sale Black Friday And The Discount Toms Outlet Toms Outlet Shoes Hollister Clothing Store Hollister Clothing Abercrombie And fitch Abercrombie 30% Off Coup On Abercrombie And Fitch Off 80% On Premium Eyewear Abercrombie Abercrombie Black Friday Abercrombie Black People Polo Ralph Lauren Ralph Lauren Outlet Polo Ralph Lauren Ralph Lauren Clearance Outlet Tory Burch Outlet Tory Burch Outlet Store Tory Burch Shoes Tory Burch Outlet Online Discount Price Tory Burch Outlet Discount Tory Burch Shoes Tory Burch Black Friday Tory Burch Black Wedge Nike Air Jordan All Michael Jordan Shoes Valentino valentino.com Toms Shoes Outlet Online Toms Outlet Supra Shoes supra.com True Religion True Religion Outlet True Religion Black Friday Black True Religion Jeans Women True Religion Jeans True Religion Outlet True Religion jeans True Religion Clothing Store Tiffany Black Friday Tiffany Cyber Monday Deals Frey Wille Jewellery Frey Wille Jewellery Prices Sac Longchamp Sac Longchamps Paris Red Bottom Shoes Red Bottom Shoes Shop For And Buy Red Bottom Shoes Online Red Bottom Shoes Red Bottom Shoes Save Up To timberland Shoes Off 70% Outlet Tiffany and co Tiffany and co Rings Tiffany and co Jewelry Tiffany Bead Bracelet With Pink Enamel Outlet Ralph Lauren Black Friday The Latest Ralph Lauren Apparel, Accessories 75% Off Website.

To receive the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s free daily sports news summary, a round-up of the day’s most interesting and informative news articles on sport and recreation, including links to original sources, email info@sportandrecreation.org.uk