This BUCS Girl Can- Getting Female Students Active

Executive Summary

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.

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

Inspired by the This Girl Can campaign we worked with 10 universities across England to use Student Activators as a tool to generate engagement and receive feedback. This helped understand the barriers that ‘less sporty’ students face in participating and saw an increase in diverse groups of women enjoying the new activities offered by the universities.

Report Contents:

  • Understand Your Audience
  • Innovative Interventions
  • Activators
  • Engaging Target Groups


• Engaging Student Activators – Engaging students in these roles offers them a development opportunity as well as getting a new audience moving.
• Engaging new audiences means doing things differently – Whether it is about communicating in new ways, running new activities or finding new coaches.
• Consultation is key – If you don’t ask then you won’t know, understanding female students is the only way to support them in being active.

Key Partners: