Across Greater London, 2014 population data estimates that there are 70,000 more women than men living in the capital; when we talk about getting 1,000,000 Londoners more active by 2020, it is clear that women have a significant role to play in making this happen.
Just last month, we were working with Women in Sport on the second leg of their annual Insight Series events, bringing together case studies of brilliant work engaging women and girls across London and Women in Sport’s expert insight to help drive home the vital importance of female participation for the entire sector.
Without Women in Sport’s expertise and support, women’s sport in London would be a poorer arena, and we look forward to continuing our engagement with the organisation on key initiatives in the coming year.
Recent months have provided some great showcases of women’s sport across London. From our activation work on Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign to the over 9,000 girls and young women who have taken part in programmes supported by Sportivate funding across London, the appetite to take part in, and enjoy, physical activity and sport across London has been endlessly apparent from women of all ages, demographics and backgrounds.
Tomorrow, to mark International Women’s Day, around 300 schoolgirls from schools around Newham will be invited to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to take part in a range of sporting activities alongside elite athletes, including London 2012 Olympian, Rachel Laybourne. Ensuring that the next generation of female Londoners are given the opportunity to take part in sport is vital in creating a happier, healthier London population in the years to come.
Women and girls are, and must continue to be, a key focus for London as we seek to get 1,000,000 Londoners more active by 2020. In spite of the progress made in recent years, almost two million fewer women than men take part in sport on a regular basis across the country. In London alone, 378,000 fewer women play sport once a week than men, and the new Government strategy into physical activity and sport is unequivocal: under-represented groups must be a key focus for sport in the coming years.
We have seen some successes – and the impact of focussed interventions across Sportivate, Satellite Clubs and Active People, Active Park over the past year have demonstrated some of the potential that engaging with women and girls can offer. There is, though, a vast amount of work still to be done to get more women and girls taking part in physical activity and sport across the capital.
We want to see a fitter, happier, healthier London in the future – and we can’t achieve that without women and girls; not just on International Women’s Day, but every day throughout the year.
Peter Fitzboydon, Chief Executive, London Sport