This BUCS Girl Can – Getting Female Students Active

November 2017

There is a significant gender gap in the participation rates of Higher Education students. Only 48.6% of female students take part in physical activity once a week compared to 64.7% of their male counter parts.


Student enjoying boxing


Women in Sport have partnered up with British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) to share insights into how to engage inactive female students within universities.

Taking inspiration from the This Girl Can campaign and through funding by Sport England, Women in Sport and BUCS worked with 10 Universities to find out what holds women back from taking part in sporting activities and what works to get them moving.

All the universities who took part in the activation project, found the This Girl Can campaign to be an effective tool for engaging with the ‘less-sporty’ students. Each university approached their projects differently with some similar themes emerging.

Kings College University used the feedback to host their first Yoga Rave event where women could participate in yoga with disco music, face paint and glow sticks. Meanwhile, the Students Union at University College London used representatives from BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) societies to understand cultural barriers and hosted a women only Kickboxing session with female coaches to engage students from their Islamic Society.

From changing the way they communicated with female students to creating ‘safe spaces’ and increasing the range of activities on offer, the universities saw an increase in diverse groups of women taking part in sport and physical activity at the universities.

Read more about the research.

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