Insight Blog - March, 2020

March, 2020

Posted: Fri, 27 Mar 2020 12:16 by Thomas Lawley

March Madness

Hello and welcome to March's addition to the insight blog. This month's insight focuses on women and girls, and ties in with the launch of our This Girl Can School Campaign. Sadly, there is a stubborn inequality in the physical activity levels between males and females. This blog edition will explore the participation rates of women and girls and their barriers to participation. In line with the evolution of our This Girl Can campaign, this month's blog edition will also incorporate some insight surrounding Ante-natal and Post-natal women. Sources used will be cited at the end and links to organisations doing fantastic work to engage women will also be linked.

Women and Girls Participation Levels

As you can see in the tables below there is an obvious disparity in levels of physical activity participation between males and females. Males are more likely to be active than females, with this trend visible nationally as well as locally. The same is true for Children and Young People (CYP), where boys (51%) are more likely to be active than girls (43%) (Achieving the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines of 60+ minutes a day).

There are many reasons given as to why women and girls tend to be less active than their male counterparts. Whilst everyone's reason for being active or inactive is individual to themselves, there are some general themes that arise.

Among children and young people, research suggests that girls' participation is often determined by their perceived ability within a given activity. Girls are less likely to participate in activities in which they have a lower perceived ability, whereas boys are likely to participate regardless of their ability. This trend is true throughout the duration of children and young people's school years. Whilst younger children have an emphasis on 'play', older children focus more on ability.

These issues sit alongside the more commonly known barriers to participation among females. Often the 'fear of judgement', feeling self-conscious or feeling like they're not good enough will prevent women from participating. This may be related to their ability, their appearance or many other factors. Other barriers that may prevent women and girls from participating include feeling conscious about body image, lacking motivation or wishing to take part alongside friends or family.

Of course, we know the common barriers but every individual will have their own set of reasons preventing participation in sport and physical activity.

Area

Male

Female

England

24.0%

26.1%

Herefordshire & Worcestershire

23.9%

27.8%

Herefordshire

23.5%

30.1%

Worcestershire

24.0%

27.1%

Area

Male

Female

England

11.3%

13.2%

Herefordshire & Worcestershire

12.2%

14.5%

Herefordshire

13.5%

13.6%

Worcestershire

11.8%

14.8%

Area

Male

Female

England

64.7%

60.7%

Herefordshire & Worcestershire

63.9%

57.6%

Herefordshire

63.0%

56.2%

Worcestershire

64.2%

58.1%

Ante-natal and Post-natal females

One specific cohort of women who are particularly vulnerable to becoming inactive are ante-natal and post-natal females. Whilst it can be a very exciting time, pregnancy presents lots of unique worries, problems and concerns. Often keeping active appears less of a priority for this group of women and many become significantly less active during pregnancy. This, along with many myths suggesting that exercise can cause birth complications, results in many pre and post-natal women falling within the inactive bracket.

The NHS encourages women to begin or remain active during their pregnancy. Women are encouraged to maintain their usual daily physical activity or exercise. This may include running, yoga, dancing or even walking to the shops and back, for as long as your feel comfortable. According to the NHS, exercise is not dangerous for your baby and there is in fact some evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.

Key organisations:

Women in Sport - https://www.womeninsport.org/

Sport England - https://www.sportengland.org/

Women's Sport Trust - https://www.womenssporttrust.com/

Sources:

Sport England's Active Lives Adults Survey

Sport England's Active Lives Children and Young People Survey

Sport England's This Girl Can - https://www.sportengland.org/campaigns-and-our-work/this-girl-can

NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pregnancy-exercise/

Tags: Active Lives, Herefordshire, Insight, March, Physical Activity, Women and Girls, Worcestershire

Tom Lawley

Tom Lawley

Project Officer (Information and Insight)

  • Insight
  • Data analysis
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Active Lives
Telephone
01905 542380