Two south Asian women playing badminton

Lockdown Research – Implications for Women’s Participation


Funded by Comic Relief, this research looked to understand the impact of lockdown on women across different life stages, from young women without children to those in later life (age 70+). Women in Sport followed a group of women for a month to look in-depth at how their lives were affected, as well as running a representative survey of 100 women from across the UK. Considered alongside each other, the research shows that there were several shifts and changes in what women valued in life, and how they wanted to behave in the future post-lockdown.

The research has shown that women have been disproportionately impacted by the lockdown, especially those women with children juggling home-life, work, and schooling, and women aged 70 plus who have suffered the greatest isolation.

  • 39 %

    of women said losing their fitness would have a long-term impact

    Women in Sport

  • 25 %

    of women worried getting back into exercise would be hard

    Women in Sport

32% of women couldn’t prioritise doing exercise during lockdown as they had too much to do for others

Woman aged 50-55 playing badminton

But the research has also shown that lockdown has also resulted in a resetting of priorities and an increased motivation to exercise post-lockdown with 61% of women surveyed stating that they will put more effort into being fit and active after lockdown is over.

This gives sports organisations an opportunity to provide an accessible entry point to sport and exercise that draws upon the new appreciation for freedoms, nature, social connection and the importance of health as motivation. But more widely as a society, it should put pressure on how we enable women to prioritise themselves and find time to be active, through their everyday lives.

I’d be very sluggish and less inclined to do exercise if I didn’t keep it up. My legs would ache and it would be very detrimental to me.”
Woman in later life

Download the report

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