Helping Women & Girls to Get Active: A Practical Guide

Make fitness fun, sociable and more approachable, a new guide by Sport England today recommends. Aimed at the people who create opportunities for women to get active, 'Helping Women & Girls to Get Active: A Practical Guide' offers advice on how to break down barriers which are stopping women and young girls from getting active, and keep them coming back for more.  

Rejecting a 'one size fits all' approach, this guide encourages facilitators to consider a range of barriers which may be preventing women and young girls from signing up. For example, research found that many women find mirrors in exercise studios intimidating and are often fearful of appearing to be the odd one out in classes. The guide also includes common sense solutions to encourage repeat visits to classes, such as teaming up with a local business to offer a free coffee as a reward for completion of a certain number of sessions. Some of the other top tips include:

  • Make sure the changing rooms have full length mirrors and good quality hairdryers
  • Mirrors in studios can make some women feel self-conscious
  • Selling the sport or activity  doesn't always work, instead sell the benefit,  promoting the fun, friendship, social aspects, as well as de-stressing effect
  • Consider alternatives to sporty images, ads with women in relaxed clothing having fun can resonate better
  • Avoid stock photos, people prefer to see either local women or women who feel like them  in marketing material
  • Images of women exercising on their own or in small groups appeal more than images of large groups
  • Record a quick video demonstrating the class and post online so possible attendees can see what the activity is like and the people taking part
  • Reduce the fear factor by advising women what to wear, what to bring, how much it is, and that there will be other people at a similar level to them there either on your website, Facebook page or by talking to them

Despite 13 million women and girls saying they want to play more sport, in reality only half that number actually do. This free online guide sets out to change this. Targeting women specifically, it aims to close the gender divide which currently sees two million more men than women exercising per week.

This new guide brings together all the results of Sport England's female-focused campaigns including I Will If You Will*, and This Girl Can*, and research study, Go Where Women Are*.  I Will If You Will, a project delivered by Bury Council, has seen the number of local women doing sport and physical activity in the town double in the last two years. The multi award-winning This Girl Can campaign is transforming the way sport and physical activity is marketed to women and how women talk and feel about being active.

Sport England Director of  Business Partnerships,  Tanya Joseph, said, “We know that men and women think about sport differently, and encouraging women and girls to get involved requires more work than simply adding a splash of pink. We want the market delivering what women want, and this guide can help make that happen.”

Sport England board member, Sally Gunnell OBE said, “Putting into practice the advice in this guide could be the difference between women just thinking about getting active and actually being active. Everyone involved in the sport or leisure sector should consider implementing some of the measures in this guide, so we can bridge the gender fitness gap once and for all.”

Follow this link to download the guide for free.

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