Health, teamwork and so much more - achieve your dream with sport

Brighouse Town Ladies v Whitley Bay. Pictured is Brighouse celebrate winning the league
Brighouse Town Ladies v Whitley Bay. Pictured is Brighouse celebrate winning the league

Time, cost and a lack of confidence.

These are all barriers women can face when it comes to playing sport and becoming active.

Ruth Holdaway

Ruth Holdaway

Through our #sistersport campaign, we want to encourage more women to get involved - regardless of age, ability, background, goal, lifestyle or confidence level. One of the organisations working tirelessly to break down those barriers is Women in Sport.

For 30 years, its mission has been to get more women and girls involved in sport - from the playing fields to the boardroom. Chief executive Ruth Holdaway says the benefits to women are endless.

“There’s a lot of evidence around the health benefits of being physically active - there are 1.5m more men than women playing sport once a week,” she said.

“That means that women are not getting these benefits to the same degree that men are. We want to work to look at what is going on in sport that means women are not motivated to play sport or are not welcomed into sport. It goes beyond the health benefits - we know that if you look at women who are in management positions, a significant number of them played some kind of team sport at school.

“They report that playing sport helped them in their career. We also see women move into management positions much faster. In the 16 to 24 age group, you find that women are more likely to be in management positions in that age group if they have participated and are still playing some kind of team sport.

“We know that issues around leadership, working as part of a team, valuing diversity, planning strategy - all the kind of things you learn through sport, particularly through team sport, can then help women to go on and pursue a career in business and take those skills with them.”

The organisation also wants to see more women working in sport. A long-running campaign has seen Women in Sport call for greater female representation - at least 30 per cent - on the boards of national governing bodies. In April 2017 it will become a government requirement, but Ruth says work now needs to be done with the sports to help them reach that target.

Ruth said: “We want fairness in sport and we believe sports organisations will be better and more successful if they have more diverse leadership.”

Its aim is also to increase visibility of women’s sport and fight for equal representations of men and women playing sport.

Kate Hardcastle, West Yorkshire businesswoman and retail guru, is an ambassador for Women in Sport and is passionate about championing its message. As a mum, Kate says she doesn’t want her daughters to face the same challenges she did when trying to play sport as a young girl.

She said: “There’s some massive wins we are making, but there’s still a big job we have to do. It’s changing an entire culture.”

Kate added that she would like to see sport pushed higher up the agenda in schools, real role models for women to look up to and more support from businesses to help employees involved in sport or sport volunteering.