The return of sport has been eagerly anticipated by so many of us over the last 12 months and...
This Girl Can: It’s time to choose you
After a year where many women and girls have felt unable to put their own needs first, This Girl Can campaign is sharing the message that it’s ‘time to choose you’ when it comes to sport and physical activity!
The latest Active Lives Survey results found a decrease in activity levels of females over the last year as a whole & they have remained consistently lower than 12 months earlier.
With the lockdown lifting and restrictions easing we want women and girls to feel they can get back into sport and physical activity and prioritise taking some time for themselves. We visited The Kendleshire Golf Club to learn more about some of the barriers females often face when it comes to taking part in sport and physical activity.
Emma Brown- The Lady Golf Coach is currently working at The Kendleshire. In the last 3 years female Golf participation at the Kendleshire has seen enormous growth of 70%. Emma is so passionate about females having the opportunity to participate in Golf as well as changing the stereotype of the sport to ensure the numbers of female golf players continue to rise over the coming years.
In order to continue the growth in female participation we asked Emma and some of the participants what the common barriers are when it comes to female participation in sport and physical activity:
- Time: When schedules are busy the time we give to ourselves and our own wellbeing is often the first thing to go.
Kids: Juggling parenting responsibilities can often mean that we don’t prioritise our own time for sport and physical activity.
Traditional expectations: Emma has experienced that some participants struggle to attend sessions due to the traditional expectations linked to home life.
The fear factor and lack of confidence: Emma is working hard to change the messaging around the sessions to give females the confidence to try something new and to not be afraid to fail.
Fear of judgement: From others at the club and more experienced players.
Stereotype and bias: One of the participants has been playing Golf for a long time and highlighted the stereotype and bias that Golf is a male dominated game.
Although the female participation numbers have increased, Emma highlighted the need for more work as there are still so many barriers she sees women face on a day to day basis. Emma is ensuring she is putting the following processes in place in order to tackle these barriers:
- Ensure the environment is welcoming and safe for members: Awareness of messaging & increased interaction to ensure people want to keep coming back.
- Female coaches: One of the participants highlighted the importance of having female coaches for participants to learn from and relate to. She spoke passionately about the positive experience she had at the Kendleshire and how Emma had played a huge role in this.
- A buddy/mentor scheme to give those playing for the first time some confidence.
- Girls Golf Rocks: local delivery of a national programme set up to encourages beginner girls aged 5-18 to learn and play golf in a fun and friendly way.
- Female only group sessions: Some females feel more confident in a female only space.
Emma has also been running group sessions for Open Minds Active who have been taking a group of Muslim Women to the Kendleshire on Friday’s for a group Golf session. None of the women had ever even considered playing golf before as they knew nothing about the sport, where or how to play and had a perception that it ‘wasn’t for them’.
This is what they had to say about the sessions:
- Amena: I’ve loved trying a totally new sport, I feel confident now to go and play with my family on holiday or to try another golf course maybe.
- Soumia: this has been really important for me during lockdown as I have a chance to relax, learn something new and have some time for myself.
- Atedal: I’ve loved meeting other women and its helped me improve my English. I really love playing golf as I’ve never tried it before.
- Soad: It’s great to have a female coach, Emma was very patient with us and we had a real laugh with her.
- Muna: I look forward to Fridays, its massively helped my mental health.
These sessions have given the participants an opportunity to break some of the barriers they were facing. As the restrictions continue to lift we hope to see more females breaking barriers and finding time to prioritise their own physical and mental wellbeing.
Wesport have allocated some of the Sport England Tackling Inequalities Funding to Open Mind’s Active so they can support the running of different activity sessions like the Golf. Visit their website to learn more about the work they do here. We have previously supported The Kendleshire Kids Foundation who strive to create Golf communities where there is no disadvantage and where all young people can reach their potential, overcome challenge and prosper.
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