21 Mar 2024

Levelling the playing field

Women and girls face barriers to taking part in sport because of lack of equipment designed for them, a UK government report has revealed. The Women and Equalities Committee examined the challenges surrounding female sports participation and where more support and understanding was needed.

It highlighted the issue of the lack of football boots designed specifically for women and the widespread problem of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the female game. And it called for a taskforce to be set up to tackle the issues facing women and girls, including the challenge of finding appropriate clothing and equipment.

The Health Barriers for Girls and Women in Sport report looked at changes that could be made to support a wide range of age groups, from primary school children to women experiencing the menopause. Its recommendations included offering schoolgirls “the widest choice of kit”, introducing more education about menstruation, increasing research into sportswomen’s health issues and improving coaching for women.

The report said: “Girls and women at all levels of sport deserve kit and equipment properly researched and designed for their health, wellbeing and performance needs. At a time of soaring interest in women’s sport, the sector must do better. The aim must be to provide an equal range of sports kit and equipment designed to meet girls’ and women’s needs, at a comparable range of price points, as is available to boys and men.

“We recommend the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education establish a taskforce, including UK Sport, the UK Sports Institute, women’s health and fitness experts, sport and exercise research institutes, and the UK divisions of leading sportswear and sporting goods brands, to develop a long-term strategy to tackle sportswomen’s health and physiology-related issues.”

Read the full report

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