More female role models needed to close gender gap in sport

Sporting heroes Charlotte Edwards and Alex Danson will host a master-class for some of this year’s competing athletes to mark the start of the 2017 School Games at Loughborough University.
Alex Danson

Sporting heroes Charlotte Edwards and Alex Danson will host a master-class for some of this year’s competing athletes to mark the start of the 2017 School Games at Loughborough University, on the 31st August 2017.

The School Games has helped to launch the careers of some of our top female athletes including heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Paralympics swimming champion Ellie Simmonds and Olympic hockey gold medallists Lilly Owsley and Georgie Twigg.

The Youth Sport Trust, the national charity delivering the School Games through Sport England National Lottery Funding, says that the summer of women’s sport must be capitalised upon to help close the gender gap in sport at all levels.

The four-day event at Loughborough University will see 1,600 young athletes competing in 12 sports, including 11 current Olympic and Paralympic Sports. The 12th - girl’s cricket - is a demonstration sport for 2017.

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust – the national charity which works to create a brighter future for young people through sport, said:  “The School Games continues to launch the careers of some of our top female athletes, but there is still a lot to do to get more girls involved and enjoying sport. By the age of 16 fewer than half of girls are regularly playing sport, whereas almost three in four boys are.

“After a successful summer for British women’s sport, we need to capitalise on our inspiring role models to demonstrate sport is for everyone, and – as has been shown this summer – if you have the talent you can go all the way.”

Former England Cricket captain Charlotte Edwards and Hockey gold medallist Alex Danson will host a masterclass for several competing athletes to mark the start of the Games, sharing insights from their own sporting experiences.

Charlotte Edwards said: “Women’s cricket will make its debut at the School Games this year giving a fantastic competitive opportunity for many young women. For me, making it to the top of my sport was a breakthrough, but we have to keep showing young women that there are pathways both to access sport and to excel in it, in order to close the gap we continue to see at all levels.”

Alex Danson said: “We will see hundreds of young women compete at the School Games this week, with thousands having been involved in the wider programme throughout the school year. As well as opportunities to engage in sport, there’s no question that having inspiring role models, particularly to show how to breakthrough and compete as a top athlete, are key to getting more women to the top of their sports.”

Further information along with images and video from the Games can be found at the online media hub: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/school-games/

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