The London Lions Basketball Club has released new data which gives an insight into the growth of women’s sport. It reveals statistics which highlight increasing participation across the board. The study also unveils barriers to participation, such as discrimination and exclusion.
The success of women’s sport teams in the UK
The London Lions are one of the most successful teams in UK sport today. They have won an historic 52 games without defeat. They have also just completed their second consecutive domestic clean sweep.
This success follows in the footsteps of other majorly successful women’s sport teams, such as the England women’s national football team.
The Lionesses have won 15 World Cup titles and won the Euros 17 times. We’ll gloss over the part where the men’s team have only won the World Cup once, and have never won the Euros.
These women’s victories are finally leading to greater recognition of female athletes in the UK.
Inspiration for female athletes
The study by the London Lions found that 12% of Brits have been inspired to try a sport for the first time this year after seeing women’s sport on TV.
It’s no wonder, then, that 56% of Brits believe there should be equal coverage of men’s and women’s sport on TV.
10% of the women surveyed said they have been inspired to pursue a career in sport due to seeing a female sporting role model.
Several professional sports have made strides to improve gender equality and provide young women with role models.
The Football Association announced a landmark deal in 2018 that saw the Women’s Super League become fully professional.
There has also been increased investment in grassroots sports, with organizations such as Sport England and Women in Sport working to provide more opportunities for women and girls to participate in sport at all levels.
Women’s sport: stunted growth
Despite this progress, the study acknowledges that this growth is being stunted. Almost 1 in 5 women reported that they’ve experienced discrimination or exclusion, which deters them from participating in sport.
Female athletes are often the subject of scrutiny and discrimination, especially online. Professional triathlete Emma Pallant-Browne recently had to publicly respond to a male social media user shaming her for being on her period during a race.
Another study, by Women in Sport, found that a fear of being judged and a lack of confidence were the main reasons for a waning interest in sport.
More than 1 million girls who thought of themselves as sporty at primary school stated that they lost interest as a teenager.
Women in Sport aim to rectify this with initiatives like the Big Sister project, which has already inspired 3,000 teenage girls to get active.
A step in the right direction
As momentum continues to build, crowd attendances are on the rise too. A significant 4.2 million Brits report having been to a women’s sport match for the first time in the past year.
A record crowd of over 15,000 watched as the London Lions recorded a WBBL Play-Off victory.
General Manager of the London Lions women’s team, Vanja Cernivec, said:
“I’m really proud of the London Lions and 777 for their commitment to not only elevate women’s sport, but to invest in women. There is a concerted effort from the club to provide women with the opportunity to lead, take initiative, and speak up. In addition, we are equally dedicated to providing grassroots initiatives where young boys and girls have opportunities to play basketball.”