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  • Comments: 0
  • 05 December 2013 00:00
  • in Government
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Sports Minister pledges to get more women involved in physical activity

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Sports Minister Helen Grant has expressed her ambition to get more women across the UK involved in sport and physical activity.

Grant, who replaced Hugh Robertson as Sports Minister in October, was joined by Britain’s Olympic boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams as the pair gave their support to Sport England's drive to get more women playing more sport. 

The Sports Minister visited projects in Bury and Sheffield, including one at the Manchester Maccabi Community & Sports Club. 

The initiative is part of a £2.3 million year-long women in sport scheme in Bury which is a Sport England pilot project that could provide the framework for a national strategy to increase female sporting participation. 

Nationwide there are currently 1.7 million fewer women participating in sport than men and Grant wants that gap to close and more women to find a sport that appeals to them.

"I want to do all I can to help encourage more women to take up sport,” said Grant.

"That’s what the project in Bury is all about – breaking down the barriers and being innovative to make sport more appealing to women who might think that it’s not for them. 

"There’s a big gap to close between female and male participation but the demand from women for sport is clearly there.

"Female sporting role models like Nicola Adams also help by inspiring young women to get involved.”

The women’s sport push coincides with new insights from Sport England that reveal 12 million women would like to participate more in sport and physical activity.

The research also shows that 6 million are not currently involved in sport but express an interest in taking part with 1.5 million inactive women interested in taking up swimming and 500,000 interested in taking up cycling.

In addition, there is strong growth potential in women’s team sport with 400,000 women playing regularly in team sports compared to 3.5 million women participating in ‘keep-fit and gym activities. 

"It is really important that we get more women doing exercise and being active,” said Adams.

"Those that have taken-up boxing or boxing training will definitely find that it has a really positive impact on their health, fitness and well-being.”

Sport England’s ‘Habit for Life’ research also found that there is latent demand amongst inactive mothers.

Exactly 70% would like to take part in sport but 64% said they feel under time pressure in their lives and that sports that can fit in with their daily schedules are the most appealing.

"Increasing the number of women playing sport will reap health, social and economic rewards,” said Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price.

"This type of behaviour change needs a different approach, as by every measure and at every age, fewer women and girls are currently choosing to play sport. 

"Sport England’s pilot project in Bury will help to provide a powerful understanding of the levers needed and we are committed to putting these insights to work on a mass scale.”

To view Sport England's factsheet on women and sport, Click Here

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