White woman with visual impairment playing tennis

Research Report: Small Changes, Big Difference for Visually Impaired Women


Women with a visual impairment were chosen as the focus of this exploratory research for two reasons. Firstly, sports participation is low among people with a visual impairment, even compared with other disability groups. Secondly, women are more likely to have a visual impairment.

By understanding the lives of visually impaired women, Women in Sport and British Blind Sport sought to explore the barriers to sport and physical activity that exist for this group, as well as the priorities that underpin their choices about engagement with activity.


Ask what people want instead of simply providing something and expecting them to go!

Key findings

  • The core values of visually impaired women – their priorities and the things that shape day to day decision making – are just as complex as those of other women
  • It is well documented that women face a wide range of physical and psychological barriers which can prevent them from participating in sport and physical activity
  • Negative interactions with providers are discouraging
  • Disability specific activity isn’t always best


  • Signpost in innovative ways
  • Small changes make a big difference
  • Don’t hide behind the rules
  •  Empower women to come back
  • Take a personalised approach
  • 6 million

    fewer women than men take part in sport on a regular basis

    Sport England, 2015-16

  • 1.86 million

    people live with sight loss in the UK in 2013

    RNIB, 2013

Download the report