More than half of British elite sportswomen polled have faced gender discrimination

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10th April 2019 11:58 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

More than half of British elite sportswomen polled have faced gender discrimination:A survey conducted by newspaper, The Daily Telegraph found that over half of the elite sportswomen polled have faced gender discrimination, while just under half have been subjected to bullying (49%) and almost a third have experienced sexual harassment.

The newspaper polled 300 top flight sportswomen from across 20 different sporting disciplines to learn more about the experiences of women athletes involved in top level sport. The results found almost three-quarters felt they had been judged on their appearance, while more than a third reported being subjected to sexist comments by fans either in person or across social media.

Responding to Andy Murray’s statement: “I’ve been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal” almost three-quarters (73%) agreed that this was their experience too.

Three-quarters of the women polled felt that the coverage of women in sport was poor; with more than half feeling that sponsorship of top-level women athletes was also poor.

Encouraging more women and girls into sport

More than eight out of ten respondents (83%) felt that the key to encouraging more women and girls to get involved with sport was more media coverage, while seven in ten felt that greater investment in female sports would pave the way. A greater focus on physical and mental health was selected by 54% while easier accessibility of clubs and gyms (52%) and decreasing the cost of playing sports (45%) were also mentioned. A third (33%) felt that more female teachers and coaches would be a positive factor in encouraging a new generation of women into sport.

Looking a motherhood and elite sport, two thirds of the respondents polled felt like the two were a difficult to combine, with less than a fifth (17%) believing that motherhood was well supported within the sporting sphere. It also found four in ten sportswomen polled frequently worried about money, with one in seven admitting they had thought about calling time on their career due to financial worries.

The survey was conducted ahead of the Telegraph’s new major initiative Telegraph Women’s Sport – which will usher in a ‘new era of unprecedented coverage’ of women’s sport via a new online channel and increased content across existing channels.  

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