SPORT HAS THE POWER TO TRANSFORM LIVES
Impact Report 2020-2022
Women in Sport’s vision is that no one is excluded from the joy, fulfilment and lifelong benefits of sport. Yet all too often, women and girls are still missing out.
“Throughout the last two extraordinary years in which we lived through the first pandemic since 1919, Women in Sport has been a voice for girls and women who deserve to experience the joy and fulfilment of sport and yet all too often miss out. We’ve called out the treatment of women’s sport in lockdown and demonstrated thought leadership to ensure that women’s sport, which, after all, has only been mainstreamed within my lifetime, should stay safe and fair.
Almost as soon as the first unprecedented nationwide lockdown was announced in March 2020, Women in Sport stepped up to research the effects of lockdown on women’s lives as they related to exercise and soon after dug deep into the lives of teenage girls. This, combined with subsequent research into diverse women in midlife, led to our trailblazing new campaign #TimeTogether.
Teenage girls are facing multiple barriers to getting active and are also redefining their relationships with their mothers who are trusted figures in their lives. Women in midlife have been stereotyped to put their own needs last but will take exercise if with their daughter. Hence #TimeTogether aimed to inspire these two groups to experience the joy of exercise with one another. In a similar vein, we created and fundraised with some brilliant partners winning £1.3m for a pilot programme, “Big Sister”, to provide support to teenage girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We have developed some powerful partnerships with major brands, specialist providers, and with sports and leisure providers during these years and are extremely grateful to them all for their support. To the individuals who have donated money to us during these years or undertaken extraordinary challenge events to raise money for us, we are also greatly indebted. We are determined to continue to stand up for women and girls in sport.”
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, CEO
WE BELIEVE THAT...
TO INSPIRE CHANGE WE AIM TO...
HOW WE HAVE CHAMPIONED CHANGE
Women, Lockdown and Activity (AIM 1)
Our early research into the Covid-19 pandemic led the way in understanding how lockdowns affected the lives of women and teenage girls and their relationship with physical activity. Women in Sport’s insights fuelled change, feeding into the sport sector’s response and raising awareness of the benefits of activity for happiness and health.
Read the report here
Teenager (AIM 1)
We dug deep to understand what stops many teenage girls from feeling they belong in sport as they move into secondary school. Our research shone a spotlight on the barriers to participation rooted in early gender stereotyping and female puberty, expressed through fear of judgement and avoidance, and leading to loss of agency to take part. This vital pure research was made possible by our grant from Sport England.
read the report here
Mid-Life, the Menopause and Movement (AIM 1)
Working closely with a diverse group of women in mid-life, we examined the social, cultural and practical barriers to their taking part in sport. The cumulative impacts of a life of stereotyping in terms of time deprivation and lack of fitness combine with menopausal symptoms and stigma to limit engagement. Yet this is a time of re-appraisal and an opportunity for sport and leisure providers to take action to engage women in mid-life.
Read the report here
Giving Visibility to Midlife Women in Sport (AIM 2)
Based on our deep understanding of midlife women, we collaborated with Getty Images to launch a curation of ground-breaking images and short films to challenge the portrayal of women in sport at this life stage. Midlife women in sport have been largely invisible to date, but through our #menopossibilities campaign we worked with a diverse group of women to ensure their faces were seen and their voices heard.
Watch their stories here
Built on our foundation of understanding of teenage girls we formed a powerful partnership, raised £1.3m and built a supportive network of ‘Big Sisters’ to help teenage girls from four disadvantaged areas get active. Girls deserve and need a healthy and active lifestyle as they go through puberty and by bringing together our expertise with a leisure provider and period poverty charity, we provided the right emotional support and practical opportunities.
Hear more from our big sisters
Daughters and Dads – Empowering Change (AIM 3)
Stereotyping starts early, and the attitude of fathers to their daughters sporting lives can be critical. By bringing groups of dads and daughters together over three years we showcased the power of that connection, opening the eyes of dads to the capabilities and needs of their daughters, inspiring girls to get active, and empowering dads to champion their daughters through sport at home and in their community.
hear from daughters and dads
Campaigning for #TimeTogether (AIM 4)
Our insights into the lives of teenage girls and their mothers identified a unique opportunity to create change. As they approach adulthood girls are looking to avoid judgement on social media and to redefine their relationship with mum, and mums find it hard to prioritise time for themselves but can justify time with their girls. #TimeTogether provides opportunities for mum and daughter to be active together.
Find out more and get involved
Collaborating with Brands and Sports (AIM 4)
Numerous sports organisations commissioned us to undertake research, webinars, and innovation sessions including RFU and Yorkshire Sport. Through this we have helped to support thinking, programming, and resources to improve access to sport for girls and women. Some leading brands have invested in our mission. We partnered with Sports Direct to research the gendered dream deficit in sport, with ACAI over Bright Friday and with Vitality to promote activity for midlife women in corporations.
See our partnerships here
System (AIM 4)
Culture must change if women are to feel certain of their place in sport. We engaged policy-makers in Government to highlight gender inequalities during the pandemic, called for an independent body for safeguarding and duty of care in sport, and lent this support to the Sports Councils’ new guidance for transgender inclusion in sport. We worked with other organisations to help ensure the UK is hosting the 2022-2026 secretariat of the International Working Group for Women and Sport.
See our positions here
OUR WORK IN NUMBERS
Research, Impact Reports, Infographics and Insight
Being Social and Engaging
22,400 podcast listens
Women in Sport was covered in 143 pieces in the mainstream national media
Report finds that 61% of women intend to be more active after lockdown
Women in Sport launches new mother-daughter campaign
Menopause campaigners want to inspire women to get active
Women in Sport and Getty Images partner for #MenoPossibilities campaign
“As an athlete, broadcaster, founder of Becky Adlington Swim Stars and a mum, I have experienced first-hand the gender inequalities that persist in sport for both my daughter and me. I am passionate about inspiring and helping all girls and women to feel they belong in sport. Everyone, whatever their age, ability or skill, should experience the opportunities it brings – joy, resilience, strength and empowerment – all of which are important for a healthier and happier nation. Thank you, Women in Sport, for championing this change.”
Becky Adlington OBE, Women in Sport Patron
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“Part and parcel of exercise for me is that enjoyment and that mental health aspect. It's not just about physically getting active, it's mentally [getting active].”
Becky Adlington, Olympic Gold Medallist and Women in Sport Patron
LISTEN TO EPISODE 25
Exercising in Midlife - the Challenges
“Through menopause there are so many things happening to you, and that you’re trying to come to terms with, and all of a sudden you have another thing you have to think about, which is older parents.”
Carol Bates, Founder of Crawley Old Girls
LISTEN TO EPISODE 26
How Snowsports are Challenging Girls to Take More Risk
“So, I think it’s about respecting the line of fear and gradually working up. It’s all about the building blocks.”
Aimee Fuller, British snowboarder
LISTEN TO EPISODE 27
The Lost 43% - The Teenage Girls Falling out of Love with Sport
“I think it’s so important that girls are reminded of the fun that sport can bring and not just the technicality that sits behind it.”
Shruti Saujani, ECB
LISTEN TO EPISODE 28
Daughters and Dads: Empowering Change
“Rough and tumble play, for example, is so important for its fun. They (girls) miss out on all that really important play wrestling.”
Philip Morgan, Founder of Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered
LISTEN TO EPISODE 29
Securing the Future of the Charity
“I am proud to be working for a charity helping to change society. To do so, it must be run highly effectively. I am delighted that we have managed to consolidate our financial position during this period, and our stronger financial reserves mean we have been able to respond promptly to needs. One example was our ability to commission research almost immediately after lockdown was announced. The murder of George Floyd challenged the world to become more serious about racial equality, and a major focus for us during this time has been to seek to diversify our staff. I am very proud of the way we changed how we recruit, so now between 30% and 50% of applicants for our roles are from diverse backgrounds and we are long-listing around 10-15 candidates to have phone calls with before building truly diverse short-lists to interview. We have improved the diversity of our team from 13% to 21% as a result of these changes.“
Harinie Wijeweera, Head of Finance and Operations
FINANCES AT A GLANCE
We are grateful to our partners and supporters who continue to help us achieve our vision now and in the future for all women and girls across the UK. We continue to build funding partnerships that strengthen and diversify our income as well as align with and support our ambition.
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We couldn’t do it without our funding partners….
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Women in Sport will…