Sports Direct retailer has launched a long-term initiative to accelerate diversity ahead of the grassroots and outdoor sports resumption on March 29th.
In partnership with the Women in Sport charity, Sports Direct released a report that reveals the realities of women athletes.
This report rounds up the devastating inequalities exacerbated by last year’s bans and provides new, sobering insights into young people’s perceptions of women’s sport:
● Two thirds of girls (73%) and boys (67%) agree that there is less funding or sponsorship available to support women’s teams than men’s teams.
● Almost half of the girls (46%) say that they would do more sports if they saw more high-quality women’s sports.
● 47% of girls said that having more female athletes as role models would encourage them to be more active. Only 19% of boys agreed that more diverse male role models are needed.
● The majority (62%) of girls were very proud to see women athletes being celebrated and almost half (46%) took inspiration from them. Less than a third of young men (31%) wanted a stronger celebration of women’s athletic achievements (31%) or more support for the girls’ and women’s teams (30%).
Sports Direct will help resolve the issues described in the report through its EqualPlay initiative, which aims to improve the playing field over the next four years and beyond to accelerate diversity, equality in sport and fitness.
The brand will focus on ensuring that all campaigns are fairly represented to make up for the lack of media visibility.
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Sports Direct will create welcoming spaces where women can discover new sports and access the training, encouragement, information and equipment they need. They will also assist grassroots organizations across the country to provide financial, material, or training support, whichever would benefit the most.
Beckie Stanion, Director of Marketing at Sports Direct, said, “In 2021, it is shocking to see the huge differences between the sexes in sport at all levels.
“During the pandemic these problems have increased, which is why our ‘Equal Play’ initiative is more important than ever. We see sport as a great balance, but unfortunately a lot more needs to be done with regard to gender.
“We are excited to work with inspiring women in all sports to bring these inequalities to light and fill the void. We know it will be a journey, but we look forward to inspiring real, tangible change.” the world of women’s sports. “
Zoe Smith, Team GB weightlifter, said, “I’m not going to pretend that the road to professional weightlifting was easy. I encourage all girls to never give up on their dreams.
“I also hope that women will really change in all sports, so I’m very excited to be part of Sports Direct’s Equal Play initiative.”
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, CEO of Women in Sport added, “It’s great to see a sports brand that reaches so many people every day who advocate the right of women and girls to play sports.
This is not just about sport, but also about life chances, fairness and personal resilience. Every change starts with understanding what needs to be changed, and we are proud to have helped Sports Direct with this initiative. “