Sports Competitors: Females

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 4th December 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Grey-Thompson Baroness Grey-Thompson Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to address the stigma associated with menstruation for women and girls in sport.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Periods should never be a taboo subject. Women and girls should feel comfortable discussing their menstrual cycle, and how it affects their attitude to sport and their sporting performance.

We are determined to encourage more women and girls to get active and break down the barriers that prevent them from doing so, something we set out in our sport strategy Sporting Future. Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign was created to get more women active regardless of shape, size and ability, and aims to tackle head on the social barriers that can prevent women from feeling like they can join in. The latest phase of the campaign, launched earlier this year, addressed periods, showing a tampon string towards the end of the advert. The reaction to this in the press and in online discussion was overwhelmingly positive with a recognition that it shows the truth of women’s lives.

Sport England are also supporting the government taskforce to tackle period poverty, primarily around actions to tackle the stigma relating to women in sport, and particularly their impact on teenage participation in physical activity in schools.

In addition, we welcome the work that the English Institute of Sport is doing through their SMARTHer campaign to open up conversations amongst athletes, coaches and staff in high performance sport around athletes’ menstrual cycles in order to improve support.

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