While women’s sport has progressed since the days of sharing ring gear at tournaments, two-time Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams believes there are still too many “barriers” for females to overcome.
Adams retired from boxing in 2019 after winning the WBO professional flyweight title in addition to numerous amateur titles.
“As a female boxer, I was called all kinds of names,” Adams said as part of the latest ‘This Girl Can’ campaign.
“Sadly, there are still many barriers that women and girls face.”
According to new research, 2.4 million fewer women than men enjoy sport and physical activity, a disparity dubbed the “enjoyment gap” by Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ coordinators.
Adams says she has struggled with inequality for much of her career, and while she acknowledges that things have improved, the 40-year-old says there is still much more to be done.
“For a long time, there was so little funding in women’s boxing that female fighters had to share one shirt in tournaments,” she explained.
“I remember being told on a regular basis to try another sport or a different career.
“It’s no surprise that there’s such a significant enjoyment gap between men and women when it comes to exercise.
“However, there are many organizations out there doing fantastic work to support women.”
‘Social barriers that are deeply embedded’
According to This Girl Can, women’s participation in sports is hampered by a variety of factors, including fear of sexual harassment (three out of ten have experienced harassment firsthand) and the cost of living crisis.
Its research also shows that nearly two-fifths of women (38%), are concerned about being judged while exercising, with issues ranging from body image to menstruation, tight clothing, and a lack of confidence.