Gender divide in attitudes towards school PE

 Gender divide in attitudes towards school PE

According to research by Women in Sport and the Youth Sport Trust, there is a “shocking gender divide” in attitudes towards physical activity for secondary school-aged children.

The survey included 25,000 girls and boys from 138 schools across England and Northern Ireland and highlights that boys and girls understand the importance of an active lifestyle.

However, it also found that there is a “big disconnect between girls’ attitudes and actual behaviour”.

Painful periods, issues with confidence and self-consciousness, the pressure of academic school work and lack of encouragement from teachers and parents, all hold teenage girls back from being physically active, the study shows.

It also noted that secondary school-aged boys (11-16) are happier with the amount of physical activity they take part in and enjoy it more than girls (71 per cent of boys compared to 56 per cent of girls).

Pressure of school work and low confidence were found to be much bigger barriers to taking part in physical activity for girls than boys (24 per cent of girls compared to 13 per cent of boys).

In addition, it noted that 45 per cent of girls do not see the relevance of the skills they learn in PE to their lives, compared to 60 per cent of boys.

The Youth Sport Trust and Women in Sport carried out this survey to better understand girls’ attitudes towards PE and physical activity and the challenges they face in getting active. These insights have been used to improve the sports offering for girls in schools across the UK.

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