Engaging women and girls in sportAmanda McDonald
As an agency with a passion for sport and a track record in sports marketing, we are always on the lookout for strategic initiatives in the sector. There’s some really interesting work going on right now to overcome the barriers to participation in sport, particularly for women and girls.
Sported, one of the leading Sport for Development charities in the UK, for whom I am a volunteer business mentor, has recently undertaken a research project in Northern Ireland in partnership with Women in Sport, arriving at insights which encourage members to think differently about engaging women. Key initiatives included female-only taster sessions, seeking to recruit women onto club committees, family fitness sessions and using existing participants to understand the reasons that their peers are no longer taking part.
These findings echoed our work with Sport England in judo, where attendance at judo classes came under threat when girls started to approach their teens and became distracted by other pursuits. This is all the more concerning when you read the stats. Only 7% of girls meet the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation of 60 minutes’ moderate to vigorous physical activity per day according to the Youth Sport Trust, and according to Sport England, there are 2 million fewer women than men regularly playing sport.
That’s we were really interested to read about Sport England’s ‘Go Where Women Are’ initiative, tackling barriers to participation such as the cost, time (especially for mothers), social confidence and perceived lack of ability. According to Sport England, the word ‘sport’ itself even has its own negative connotations and can deter potential participants.
We’re playing our part in encouraging Yes Agency’s women to increase their physical activity. All staff members, male and female, have been given their own activity trackers, and are given the opportunity and incentive to increase their exercise regime day by day. That way we can all impact upon the participation figures and practice what we preach.