A local politician has delivered a conference speech calling on further action to be taken to increase sporting opportunities for women and young girls.
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, while chairing a seminar at a Westminster Media Forum event entitled Women and the Sport Sector: Leadership, Investment and International Competitiveness, delivered a speech which highlighted a number of barriers stopping women and young girls from participating in sports and taking up leadership roles.
During his speech, Mr Newlands – who also serves as the SNP Westminster Spokesperson for Sport – highlighted statistics which show girls aged between 11 and 18 years old exercise less regularly and for less time than boys and that only 14% of CEO positions across Scotland’s sporting national governing bodies are held by women,
Gavin Newlands MP called for greater action to increase the sporting opportunities for women and young girls at all levels of sport.
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:
“I was delighted to be giving the honour of chairing this event, and in particular, introducing Britain’s most decorated female Olympian of all time Dame Katherine Grainger.
“From the grassroots to the professional level and in board rooms, it’s clear that a glass ceiling exists for too many women and young girls to become involved and progress in sport.
“According to Women in Sport, 78% of 14-16-year-old girls understand that physical activity is important, yet only 28% enjoy taking part. Becoming active at an early stage is crucial in improving fitness levels and we need to find a way to ensure girls want to take part in physical activity as much as boys.
“It’s also extremely concerning that so few women and serving as CEOs or on governing bodies. These are the influential positions which can affect the greatest level of change. If we want to create an accessible sporting environment at every level, then we must open the board rooms for women who have earned the right to serve in leadership roles.”
Photo: A library photograph of Gavin Newlands speaking in parliament last year.