A black teenage girl and a mixed race teenage girl playing dodgeball

Research Report: From Barriers to Benefits – The economic case for female participation in sport


We want women and girls to be equally able to experience the joy of playing in a team or achieving a personal best, the boost to physical and emotional well-being from staying active, and the associated benefits for their academic achievement, careers and family life. However, as we set out in this report, we also know that getting more women and girls participating in sport and physical activity will have wider benefits too for our communities and society, and the economy.

We argue that investing in women’s participation in sport has a key role to play in developing a cycle of positive social and economic outcomes. The economic benefits of investing in women’s participation is one piece of a broader picture. Investing in increasing participation at a grass-roots level impacts on individual women, those around them, and the extent to which they engage with the sports industry. Investing at the intermediate and elite levels of women’s sport also works to build interest and engagement with sports more broadly. This has the potential to contribute to a positive spiral of higher participation – with valuable returns at the individual, community and industrial levels.

  • Around 2.5 % of healthcare costs are associated with physical activity

    The Department of Health

  • In 20 years, it's predicted that 70% of women will be overweight

    Women in Sport

Download the report