Three black teenagers planking on grass

Make Space for Us


This research, commissioned by Yorkshire Sport Foundation, is an important first step to understanding how teenage girls feel about being active outdoors in their local parks and green spaces. Girls use parks less and face many barriers to exercising.  

This comes from a lack of understanding of their needs in park design and the way society sees and treats them when they get there. These stifle enjoyment and limits their right to enjoy the wealth of health and wellbeing benefits of being active in the great outdoors.

  • 49 %

    of girls say they feel unsafe in their local park

    Women in Sport

  • Only 34 %

    of girls enjoy exercise in their local park

    Women in Sport

We have a great chance to engage more teenage girls in outdoor activity post-pandemic. Girls value the importance of being fit, active and outdoors more than ever for their mental health and wellbeing. 

Download the full report (8.11 MB)

Many girls have positive memories and feelings of being active in parks from childhood. This provides a positive start point, if we can reframe their current perceptions of parks to increase their relevance. 

But we must design spaces through their eyes and inspire and support them to discover the potential of their local parks. Many girls would like to have more say in shaping their local parks but have rarely been asked their opinion and feel they won’t be listened to. Their voice must be acted upon for any consultation and engagement to be meaningful. 

This research provides key insights into their barriers and needs to drive change if we want to create more inclusive parks and green spaces, where every girl can experience the joy and freedom of outdoor exercise.

  • 73 %

    of girls say feeling watched puts them off exercising in the park

    Women in Sport

  • 78 %

    of girls list lack of toilets & changing facilities as a barrier

    Women in Sport

Download the full report

Make Space for Us (8.11 MB)


“I would like to say thank you to the Women in Sport team for supporting us with the Make Space for Us research. The team have been fantastic in their enthusiasm, support and delivery of the project. The findings and outcomes workshops are exactly what we were looking for. The workshops were delivered in a great way that engaged and enthused all audiences and has really supported us in kick starting this work. Thanks you to the team for this research. It has been great to work together and we hope there is another opportunity for us to do so in the future.” – Yorkshire Sport Foundation

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