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More must be done to reduce drop-off in teenage girls' participation

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More must be done to reduce drop-off in teenage girls' participation

New research from Women in Sport found that 43% of girls who enjoyed physical activity and sport in primary school disengage and fall out of love with activity during their teenage years.

The new research demonstrates clearly why we are developing our thinking around two potential female-focused projects which would support more teenage girls to complete the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

On International Women’s Day, the research looks to #BreakTheBias by outlining the complex barriers and deep-rooted negative attitudes that affects girls’ enjoyment of physical activity.

Women in Sport found that 61% of girls feel judged with half (50%) lacking the self-belief to continue their participation, more than a third (38%) don’t feel safe exercising outside.

Alexandra Park School in Haringey recently used Opening School Facilities funding, distributed by London Sport, to create a ‘Girls Night’ to engage more girls with great success.

More must be done to ensure teenage girls have access to activities that they want to participate in with London Sport launching two female-focused projects in the coming weeks.

Make Space For Girls

London Sport’s Make Space for Girls project will look to address the fact that provision is often designed without the consultation with teenage girls and/or dominated by teenage boys or other user groups. 

It rarely meets the needs and aspirations of teenage girls.

We want to work with partners to create spaces that are more suited to the needs and aspirations of teenage girls in connection to sport and physical activity.

We will explore how we can better shape the use of existing facilities to meet these needs but also look at how we can co-design the activation of other non-traditional spaces such as retail units, community centres to increase the number of opportunities for teenage girls to be active.

East London – Women and Physical Activity

In 2020 we conducted research to understand the barriers to physical activity amongst women and girls in three East London boroughs, Barking & Dagenham, Newham, and Redbridge, and to identify potential local influencers who could inspire and enable women to take up more activity.

The findings showed that many women reported feeling unsafe when taking part in physical activity, especially those from ethnic minorities. It was noted there were financial barriers as well as time barriers, especially those with children.

From this research, London Sport is working with partners to build more a local borough-specific understanding of what works for the women in each of those places.

We want to build a local picture that can understand what places women are happy to take part in an exercise in and create more opportunities in these places.

We need to identify the spaces that are less attractive and work with local operators, partners, and the local authority to improve these places.

Most importantly, we must put women’s physical activity on the map for local networks as an area of focus, along with other in-need groups, and increase the number of women completing physical activity.

To get involved and support these projects, email us here.




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London Sport aims to ensure Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity

About London Sport

London Sport aims to ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

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