Poor facilities put girls off sport, poll shows

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Changing rooms with hairdryers and full-length mirrors would help to encourage women and girls to take up sport, a poll published last week suggests. More than half of those surveyed would take part in sport if they could style their hair afterwards. Fifty-six per cent of girls aged 10 to 15 said that hairdryers were essential and 91 per cent cited private cubicles as a must-have.

The findings, by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, will be used to urge schools to upgrade changing facilities as part of a push to increase females’ level of physical activity.
Less than 3 per cent of women play competitive team sports while those aged 16 to 24 are half as active as their male peers. Nearly a quarter said that PE classes at school put them off sport for life.

The publication of the latest female attitudes to sport is a precursor to a national campaign to begin next year as part of the antiobesity agenda backed by ministers. Provisionally titled Make Active Attractive, it is pitched against centuries of gender-bias in competitive sports that have traditionally been overwhelmingly male pursuits run by men in blazers.

The campaign will build on the work of an independent commission announced in July by Andy Burnham, the Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, to address the absence of female leadership in sport, a lack of media interest and lower investment levels compared with men’s sport. Chaired by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, who won 11 Paralympic gold medals, the commission helds its first board meeting this week.

Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, told a sports conference at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium that Britain must capitalise on the raised profile of women’s sport prompted by the success in Beijing of Rebecca Adlington, the double Olympic swimming champion, and Rebecca Romero and Victoria Pendleton, who won gold medals in track cycling.

Source: Times Online

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