As enjoyment is one of the biggest motivators for people to take part in sport and physical activity, closing the enjoyment gap is an important step towards closing the gap in participation levels.
“The exercise enjoyment gap is yet another inequality between women and men,” said Kate Dale, our director of marketing.
“It can be too easy to accept things as the way they are; to not challenge the status quo. That’s not what This Girl Can is about. We exist to get women active – and that means we’re here to shout about the enjoyment gap. Women deserve to get active as much as men; we want all women to benefit from the physical, mental and social rewards of an active life.”
‘This Girl Can With You’ will support organisations across the sport and physical activity sector to develop solutions in response to four action areas.
Activities for women must be social (help women feel part of a community), suitable (meet women’s needs), self-affirming (help women feel confident) and safe (women must feel physically and emotionally safe when taking part).
The brand-new This Girl Can website has tools, tips and ideas for organisations to get started, with the insight building upon the brilliant work that many grassroots organisations and activity providers are already delivering to close the gap.
“From safety issues to heightened anxiety fuelled by the cost-of-living crisis, the barriers faced by women and girls in 2023 loom large and are deeply embedded in our society,” added Kate.
“This is a call to arms. We are rallying the sport and activity industry to join us to close the Enjoyment Gap by making sure activities for women are social, suitable, self-affirming and safe.
“There are already organisations out there doing brilliant things, and we want to spread the word and have more people join us. With you, This Girl Can can close the Enjoyment Gap.”
Nicola Adams, the first female boxer to become a double Olympic gold medallist, is supporting the campaign and says she can understand why there is an enjoyment gap between men and women.
“I was called all kinds of names as a female boxer and even remember being regularly told to take up another sport or a different career,” she explained. “It’s no wonder there’s such a significant enjoyment gap in the number of women enjoying exercise, compared with men.
“These days, sport and fitness remain an integral part of my routine. I still train most days because it helps me feel good in myself and destress – and I’m a big advocate of encouraging women and girls to make sure they get active too, in whatever way works for them.”