A Yonder Whitepaper series


The state of play

Across eight popular forms of exercise – including netball, the sport historically offered to girls at school – women fail to exceed their male counterparts when it comes to participation (see figure above). When the question is reduced to competitive sports, excluding activities such as running, walking, and hiking, participation gaps grow even wider. Not least, men reported over three times the participation of women in cricket, football, and golf.

This is, however, not just a UK-wide problem. A 2022 Eurobarometer survey found that, across the 27 EU Member States, women were consistently less active than men. As found in their 2017 survey, men were more likely than women to exercise or play sport with regularity: 40% of European men claimed they “never” exercise or play sport, compared with half (49%) of women.

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