Jun 28, 2017
Supporting Women’s Sports Week
As one of only a few female CEOs in the sport business industry, I’m delighted to see the positive response that Women Sports Week has received this week.
I am also a non-executive director of Women’s Sport Network, a not-for-profit community promoting issues and opportunities around women’s sport. This week, Women’s Sport Network supported the launch of HerMoJo, an initiative designed to help women and girls get more active. It’s free to use and helps women find local activities using a simple postcode search.
In most communities, it’s usually easy to find organised team sports, such as football and rugby, but not as easy to find the type of exercise busy women and girls are looking for. According to research from Sport England, there is a significant gender gap when it comes to exercise, with two million more men than women exercising or playing sport regularly. This is despite 75% of women saying they would like to do more. I believe that much of this gap is due to a low awareness of the opportunities available.
As a working mum, I’ve often struggled to find local classes and sports that are suitable and convenient. Juggling meetings with school runs, ballet classes – and not to mention my husband’s squash tournaments – means I have precious little time to exercise each week.
HerMoJO helps me tackle this problem, it’s a place to help find your get up and go and it’s free to use. It’s the brainchild of Sam Taylor, who decided last year that she wanted to change – she was a self-confessed gym-phobic, mother of three, who, like most us, enjoys a glass of wine or two. But last year, she decided to change this and took on a challenge to participate in 100 different sports and fitness classes in 100 days. Inspired by her life-change, Sam now wants to make it easier for other women and girls to do the same.
Whether it’s badminton, Zumba, a running club or Pilates, HerMojo quickly finds a range of classes and sessions to suit all tastes, conveniently located in the local area. The search tool quickly connects women with thousands of clubs and classes across the UK offering female-friendly opportunities to play sport and get fit in the local community.
If we really want to promote women’s sport, then I believe we need to start from the ground up with initiatives like this. We need to make it as easy and convenient for women to enjoy sport and fitness as it is for men. Empowerment and enablement are the keys to true equality in sport.
We also need to give better access and facilities at a young age, 90% of adult women in a recent survey said they would want to do more, yet girls opt out as early as 7 years old. Without much variety on offer in schools, its no wonder they opt out, in many cases there is only one option available, we are not one size fits all so why should our sports options be. I am so encouraged to see my three girls being offered everything from netball to boxing, roller ski to karate. Over the coming years I will make it my mission to make this the case across the country.