A Yonder Whitepaper series


Women in Sport

'It's the taking part that counts' - so why aren't women taking part in sport?

Alice Tillett, Anna Reynolds, Catie Shepherd & Celia Roberts

In 2019, Yonder launched an enquiry into the engagement of women and girls in sports. Back then, we were amazed at the progress made within the field: equal pay agreements at the elite level, high-profile sporting wins and record-breaking viewing figures. However, despite the growing media coverage of elite women’s sports, male viewers continued to dominate spectatorship and participation alike.

Since then, success stories have only increased, with unprecedented crowds gathering at Twickenham to watch England play in the Women’s Six Nations, and the record viewing figure smashed as the Lionesses brought it home at the Women’s Euros in July 2022. Professional women’s sport is – on the surface – embracing its time to shine. However, the picture is not as optimistic as the headlines might suggest. Some four years later, Yonder has captured continued underrepresentation of women in sport, exercise, and physical activity.

The reality is that the true needs of huge numbers of women are not being met (yet!). So, businesses need to start by understanding what those needs are. By flipping customer-centricity on its head – not seeing customers in terms of their relationship to you, but truly seeing yourself through the eyes of your customer (what we call a customer-driven approach) – businesses can leverage opportunities that truly meet the needs of their audiences. Organisations across the sporting industry now have an opportunity to transform their businesses, design new concepts and improve strategies to reengage and benefit from the huge numbers of female audiences that they are currently missing out on.

Building on our extensive understanding of the sports landscape, Yonder has sought to unpack why we find ourselves in this situation, diving deep into the factors deterring women before defining a series of recommendations and actionable strategies that show the role that brands can play in driving fuller and more sustained engagement with sport among women.


Our approach included three forms of primary research covering qualitative and quantitative methods. We always add value to our findings by applying expert analysis to uncover clear, actionable insight.


depth interviews with experts in the sports sector


depth interviews with members of the public


adults across the UK surveyed

About Yonder

We’re a consultancy that blends insight, strategy and imagination to unlock opportunity and deliver impact.

When insight and strategy blends with imagination, you get a different kind of consultancy. Approaching every challenge with a combination of the analytical and the imaginative, we help organisations to think more expansively about their future. We deliver world-class strategy, powered by a level of insight you’ve never seen before, and executed through heavyweight creative and digital. This helps you to unlock opportunity and deliver meaningful business impact.

Our teams in London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore have deep expertise across sectors and geographies, and are uniquely positioned to help our clients go further, with focus.

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