After an incredible summer of women’s sport, which saw multiple attendance and viewing figures broken, the charity Women in Sport is encouraging mothers and their teenage daughters to spend #TimeTogether this October trying out new activities to experience the joy that sport and exercise can bring.
Women in Sport has partnered with 20 organisations including England Netball, RFU, England Golf, British Cycling, the Great Outdoor Gym Company and Swim England, to help break down barriers to participation by offering accessible ways to try out new activities in supportive environments. The campaign is also being supported by ITV This Morning doctor Zoe Williams. Centred around the theme of belonging, the month-long campaign is the biggest to date.
Women in Sport research found 1.3 million girls in the UK, who enjoyed sport in primary school, are dropping out of sport during their teenage years. Deep-rooted negative attitudes which include a fear of judgement, combined with the challenges of navigating puberty, are affecting their enjoyment of sport. Six out of 10 teenage girls are also not meeting physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes of activity per day. Women in Sport warned a generation is at risk of slipping into a lifetime of inactivity.
However, mothers and mother figures can be part of the solution, with 48% of teenage girls saying their mum, aunts and female role models encourage them to be active. Yet women in midlife are also time poor, often having to prioritise the demands of their careers and family life above their own health needs.
“Getting active with your mum is good as it gives you motivation to get up to get active… and for this person to be your mum makes it better! You know your mum isn’t going to judge you so you can feel completely comfortable.” (Eva, 16)
Cold Feet and Spooks actress Hermione Norris, 55, is supporting the campaign. She said: “There’s a lot going on in the world around us. Being physically and mentally strong is important for all of us. As a mum I encourage my daughter to stay active and we often to this together. Women in Sport’s #TimeTogether campaign offers so many exciting ways to be inspired by different activities for both mums and daughters.”
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, chief executive of Women in Sport, said: “Although this Summer has been so inspiring, we know that most teenage girls face real barriers to getting active and into sport. The cumulative impact of stereotyping from a young age and pressures from social media not least commentary on appearance means many girls feel they don’t belong being active. Many girls tell us they are turning to their mothers all the more. At the same time mothers are missing out as their time is dominated by work demands or caring for relatives as they also cope with menopausal symptoms. So mothers and daughters getting active together is a solution we know can work.
“The number of partners and supporters for this year’s #TimeTogether campaign demonstrates the appetite for change. Through collective action we can break down barriers and give all women and girls the opportunity to find freedom and discover joy in sport and exercise. We know that the momentum is shifting after this Summer’s sport, and we want women and girls to feel sure of their right to be active and free, because after all, they do belong in sport.”
The #TimeTogether campaign will be running throughout October. For more information visit www.womeninsport.org/timetogether