By Olivia Ogilvie
THE success of the London Olympics in 2012 has led to more women than ever taking up sport.
This was the good news from an investigation by Sport England led by This Girl Can which has been praised this week by the founder of Women in Sport Scotland.
Maureen McGonigle said: “I think they had a major push and they invested into This Girl Can campaign and that has had enormous benefits for them. Also I would think the success of a lot of their female athletes has helped.”
Latest figures show there has been an increase in women playing a regular sport since the 2012 Games, a legacy promise from the Games’ organisers who were aiming to increase participation.
However numbers declined during the first four years since the London event but now the increase has been being largely driven by women who make up the 200,000 of the 230,000 extra participants that play sports since last year.
This year sees 7.21 million women playing sports reducing the gender gap by 25%.
There are four sports which represent 60% of the female participation – swimming, running, cycling and football and swimming sits at number one as the most popular activity.
The Olympic Charter states: “The IOC (The International Olympic Committee) encourages and supports the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women.”
Women in Sport is an organisation whose mission is to transform sport for every women and girl in the UK and champion the right of every woman and girl in the UK to take part in, and benefit from, sport: from the field of play to the boardroom,.
Elie Barnes, Trustee of Women in Sport and former Welsh hockey players, said: “We are really encouraged by this set of results which show the number of women taking part in sport is at record levels and the gender gap narrowing.
“We know through our research and partnership with Sport England, that the way to get more women and girls to participate in sport is through encouragement and support.
“While the gender gap has narrowed to 1.55 million for women aged 16 and over, the gap is 1.66 million for women aged 14 and over, which means we still have work to do to ensure teenage girls are given every opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sport as their male peers.”