Where We Are Now: A Nation Of Inactive Girls

The facts are clear and depressing-too few girls in the UK are physically active!

Overall girls are positive about sport and physical activity, mainly motivated by social and health benefits, whereas boys are motivated by representing a team. Girls like having fun, being with friends and enjoying sport. The key barriers girls face are a mix of the practical:

  • Lack of support from parents.
  • Insufficient choice of activity.
  • No one to be active with.
  • Available space dominated by boys.
  • Parents setting more stringent rules about girls playing outside/away from home.

And the attitudinal:

  • Lack of confidence in skills.
  • Only the talented really encouraged.
  • Self-consciousness about being seen exercising and getting hot and sweaty.
  • Being sporty still not seen as inspirational for girls.
  • Academic work more important than sport.
  • Few role models for girls.

Girls are also under pressure to be thin, not fit and muscled, sport being perceived as masculine. A lot of girls dislike the aggressive attitude to some sports.

What is the answer?

The most direct impact on fitness and health levels is the school system. Schools offer the structured environment in which physical activity is time tabled and participation can be measured. This however only works if an inclusive range of appealing activities are offered and delivered in a way that encourages girls to participate. Ask the girls!!

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