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- 25 July 2014 00:00
- in Government
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A new report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee says women are being put off from taking part in sport by sexist attitudes, boring lessons and derogatory remarks made by media commentators.
The Committee also expressed concern that low participation rates in sport by women and girls has worrying long-term health and social care implications and have urged more imaginative approach by schools, sports governing bodies and relevant government departments to help engage women in sport.
"Sport still has too male an image, and it will require efforts from sport governing bodies, the media, schools and government departments and agencies to encourage us all to view sporting activity as a normal activity for women, which should be encouraged and facilitated,” said the Committee Chair John Whittingdale.
"Good habits are learnt early, and it is a sad fact that many girls are put off sport by school games lessons.”
The report suggests that females of all backgrounds are less likely than men to take part in sport and more inclined to give them up at an early age.
The situation for women has improved slightly, partly due to the huge success of female athletes at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
But the MPs warn that much more needs to be done to increase media coverage and attract wider industry sponsorship.
The Committee says schools need a fairer allocation of funds for sporting activities for girls and more investment in teacher training and female changing rooms.
They have also made a number of recommendations to help improve the situation, including upgrading sports halls and training facilities for women.
"Many of our recommendations are aimed at increasing the variety of sports on offer, and making it easier for girls and women to participate in locally available, affordable activities adapted to their lifestyles,” added Whittingdale.
"We urge Sport England to continue to pressure the under-achievers to learn best practice from others, and we look forward to the outcome of Sport England’s imaginative initiative in Bury which aims to adapt sport to women’s lifestyles rather than expecting the reverse.
As far as elite sportswomen are concerned, we must build on the very positive exposure given to them by the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
"There is scope for greater, and better, media coverage and more commercial sponsorship, but again NGBs must be prepared to put effort into presenting and marketing women’s sport in interesting ways."
To view the report, Click Here