Barbara has called for action to put women’s sport on an equal footing to men’s sport. There are issues in lower levels of participation of girls and women and lower levels of pay and sponsorship in careers in sport for women.

Barbara is the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women’s Sport and Fitness. She was speaking in a Westminster debate on the Olympic Legacy after figures showed that 212,000 fewer women now participate in sport, compared to 2012.

Barbara said:

“Despite the great performance of England in the Women’s World Cup, the numbers of women taking part in sport has fallen since the Olympics. I am concerned about the impact that inactivity has on the health of women in Salford. Less than one in four women take part in sport or fitness activities once a week, compared to nearly four in ten men. This is lower than both national and North West averages for women taking part in sport.”

“It is also harder for women to make a career out of sport, as the rewards of pay and sponsorship are much lower for women than men. England won the women’s rugby world cup with a team who were not paid professionally, nearly all of the players had other jobs. In football even elite players are not earning a great deal, with some players in the Women’s Super League paid as little as £50 a week. We need better levels of funding, sponsorship and pay to promote sport as a possible career for women.”

“Lessons can be learnt from the USA where they have laws to ensure equal funding for sport in high schools and colleges. It is time the Government had a strategy to deal with the barriers preventing women and girls taking part in sport and physical activity and I have called on them to develop that.”

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