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Active Essex to aim to bridge gender gap

Lifestyle / Mon 10th Nov 2014 at 11:49am

ACTIVE Essex is supporting a national initiative which aims to close the gender gap in sport.

Over 224,600 women in Essex participate in sport, compared to 277,900 men – a gap of almost 10%.

Sport England recently announced their upcoming ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, which officially launches in January. The campaign aims to forge new positive social attitudes around women and girls playing sport and being physically active, breaking down a key barrier so that they feel more comfortable exercising.

Research carried out by Sport England shows that by every measure, women play less sport than men. Many of the barriers women encounter are emotional, as well as practical, and how women feel about sport is as important as finding a convenient, affordable option.

Sport England research shows that 75% of women and girls actually want to exercise and participate more, showing that there is a significant demand to be more active among women, but something is stopping them.

As well as supporting Sport England’s campaign, Active Essex’s She Has Energy (SHE) programme aims to help existing community groups to provide sport or physical activity to women and girls, helping them to overcome barriers.

Chairman of Active Essex, Gary Sullivan said: “We fully support the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. The statistics from Sport England show what we have known for a long time, that more men currently take part in sport and physical activity in Essex than women. One of the key reasons we launched Get Active Essex was to encourage people in Essex, who are inactive, to get active and get healthy. We are committed to helping more women and girls access sport and activities, particularly through schemes such as our Sport Health Education (SHE) programme and Sportivate.”

Over 1,500 women will benefit from the project, which aims to support 70 community groups within deprived areas of Essex, empowering local women to help create and run the clubs themselves.

The project is funded by Active Essex to boost women’s participation in sport, especially those who care for children or who live in disadvantaged communities..

Active Essex also commissions funding from the Sportivate programme to local organisations around Greater Essex. Sportivate has funded 2025 11-25 year olds since April 2014 with 994 of the participants being female. This aims to help promote untraditional sports such as scuba diving, Skiing and horse-riding and much more.

Active Essex recently funded the Active Women’s Festival at Southend Leisure & Tennis Centre, where women of all ages were invited to join in and try various different physical activities as part of the Active Women programme. Those that attended were able to take part in Dance Fit, Zumba, combat, Hula and even Clubbersize! (pictured)

This is just one part of the work Active Essex do to encourage a more active county. Last month Active Essex launched Get Active Essex, a countywide campaign to get the people of Essex active and healthy. The campaign also aims to get those who are inactive taking part in sport and physical activity.

Cabinet Member responsible for Sport & Physical activity, Cllr Ray Gooding said: “The work that Active Essex is doing to get the county more active is crucial in ensuring a healthy county. The Get Active Essex campaign has been great in raising awareness of all of the opportunities available to help people achieve this. It is also promising to see the work being done to ensure that those who are inactive has led to more of these people now participating in sport and physical activity.”

To find out more about the SHE programme, Sportivate and how you can get involved with these programmes or any club or activity in Essex please visit http://www.activeessex.org/Opportunities/active-women/ http://www.activeessex.org/funding/sportivate/ and www.activeessex.org/getactive.

You can also follow #ActiveEssexWomen #GetActiveEssex on Twitter.

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