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£10m investment hopes to reduce gender gap in sports participation

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Initiatives that will bring netball to city centres, encourage more women to ride bikes and provide childcare while they exercise will be part of a £10m scheme announced today to try to reduce the gender gap in sports participation in England, the Guardian reports.

Amid evidence that worryingly slow progress is being made towards the goal of using the Olympics to persuade more people into sport, the new Sport England investment will support 20 projects designed to get women from disadvantaged communities and those with children playing more sport.

Sport England’s most recent figures, published last month, showed that one in eight women play sport regularly in England compared with one in five men.

Among disadvantaged communities, the number of women drops to one in 10.

“For many women with children or those managing a tight budget, sport – and time to themselves – can slip down the list of priorities,” said Sport England’s chief executive, Jennie Price.

“The projects we’re funding today have asked local women what is stopping them from getting involved and what sports interest them, before coming up with an offer that is appealing and accessible.”

Repeated studies by the Womens Sports and Fitness Foundation have found that there are a string of significant obstacles to increasing the number of women participating in sport.

They have also criticised the lack of representation for women at senior sports administrative levels and the lack of coverage of female athletes in the media.

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