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07 Mar 2024 279

WEC Report Addresses Health Barriers for Women and Girls in Sport and Physical Activity

UK Coaching welcomes WEC’s warnings for sport to do better for women and girls, with coaching and education key to the solution.

As part of the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC)’s report, UK Coaching has urged for more to be done to ensure that issues of female health should become mandatory for coaching qualifications. This is to ensure coaches are adequately supported, so all can equally enjoy the full benefits of sport and physical activity.

Emily Handyside, Coach Programme and Pathway Manager at UK Coaching, who contributed to the government paper, explains:

There is a lack of attention given to female health in coach qualifications and that is born out of sport being developed ‘by men, for men’ and it does feel like female health is often overlooked.

“Within my role at UK Coaching I am able to address these issues first hand and it is something I am very proud to say I can do to help address the equality issues in sport.

“We, at UK Coaching, welcome the warnings and advice from the Women and Equalities Committee and hope that now there will be more emphasis on creating environments and qualifications that have an equal outlook on them and are suitable for all taking part.

“I am really happy to have contributed to the report and I hope we can improve the world of sport and physical activity and coaching for everyone.”

In a government paper, the committee also set out a series of wide-ranging recommendations and called on the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and DfE (Department for Education) to establish a taskforce to develop a long-term strategy to tackle sportswomen's health and physiology-related issues.

The recommendations for the strategy set out by the WEC would cover key priorities for research and steps to achieve equal representation of women – including at all levels of coaching and leadership for sport and physical activity.

Chair of the WEC, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP said:

While there are positive signs of progress in the sports and exercise research sector, fundamental change is required to achieve equality of attention to health and physiology-related issues affecting women in sport.

“As the Committee’s report clearly shows, there needs to be an equal focus on tackling the health barriers for females in sport at all stages. It is time for a more effective and better coordinated, cross-departmental, sector-wide approach, benefitting women and girls throughout their sporting lives from early years, through puberty and motherhood, to midlife and beyond.”

Read the full report here.

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