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Women and young girls can achieve equality in sport

Alys Mumford, Communications and Engagement Officer, Engender

Supporting the Legacy 2014 Equality and Human Rights Conference on 9 March, Alys Mumford says she believes that women and young girls can achieve equality in sport.

With the Olympics in London in 2012, and Glasgow hosting the XX Commonwealth Games last summer, women and girls in Scotland have not been short of inspiration to get involved in sport.

From Lynsey Sharp’s inspirational sprint to the finish line to take silver or first time Commonwealth competitors like Sarah Adlington to veterans of the commentary box like Hazel Irvine - all these women continue,  to promote strong female role models in sport.

So it might come as a surprise that, across the UK, young women are half as likely to participate in sports as young men. Women’s sport still accounts for just 0.4% of the commercial investment going into all sports, and women’s events make up only 7% of total sports coverage in the media.

Of course encouraging female participation in sport is about much more than having strong and visible female role models. Both sportscotland and The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation have conducted research into the gender gap of sports participation and discovered significant barriers to women getting more involved in sport.

Schools, councils, sports centres and the Scottish Government can all work to improve female participation in sports in Scotland though improving access and understanding.

Even with these changes, we must recognise that the only way for women and girls to achieve an even playing field in sports, we need an even playing field in society.

Engender has a vision for a Scotland in which women and men have equal opportunities in life, equal access to resources and power, and are equally safe and secure from harm.