GB Triathlete Emily Burton says “there still needs to be more done to encourage girls into sport.”
A study released by ‘Women in Sport’ has found that girls in Secondary schools are still not taking part in PE.
The research found that 78% of 14 to 16 year-olds understand that physical activity is important, but only 1 in 4 take part.
The charity’s ‘Empowering Women and Girls through sport’ campaign has identified that the ‘pressure of school work and low confidence’ is more of an issue for girls taking part in physical activity than boys.
The Under 20 World and European Champion says differently, “I didn’t enjoy doing sport at school, I was never the best at school sports so the PE teachers never really supported me. I joined outside sports club so that I could carry on doing sport.” She also says, that schools prioritise other academic subjects over sport.
According to the National Union of Teachers schools face underfunding and understaffing.
In 2016, Women in Sport and the Youth Sport Trust surveyed more than 26,000 students, from 138 secondary schools across England and Northern Ireland to understand the difference and similarities of activity levels between girls and boys.
The Girls Active programme developed by the Trust and in partnership with This Girl Can campaign and Women in Sport, involves girls designing the delivery of PE and physical activity in Secondary schools. But Emily Burton says more variety from PE teachers is needed, “Some people only have one or two sports that they like and they never get the opportunity to play them at school so they stop.” She went onto say “for me PE lessons were never really great, they were always focused on netball which I wasn’t really interested in. There was never any variety in the sports until about year 10 when we got new PE staff.”
She also thinks that equal coverage of women’s sport should become mainstream.