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Women are active, creating opportunity for sport: ASC

22 Nov 2017

Australian women are as physically active as men, if not more, creating the opportunity to increase their participation level in sport Australian Sports Commission (ASC) research has revealed.

The ASC has released a new set of data from its AusPlay survey, the nation’s biggest sporting survey that tracks the trends of Australian sport and physical activity.

New AusPlay statistics debunk the myth that Australian females are less physically active than males, although women and girls are still not participating in organised sport at the same levels as men. Research also shows that parenthood sees a bigger drop in male physical activity levels than among females.

Latest statistics show 63 per cent of Australian women (aged 15+) participate in sport and physical activity at least three times a week, compared to 60 per cent of men.

Physical health and fitness is easily the biggest motivating factor for women to be physically active (81 per cent), but they are predominantly choosing fitness-related activities like gyms, walking and running ahead of organised sport.

ASC chief executive Kate Palmer said the AusPlay data would help inform the sporting sector about opportunities to attract more girls and women to sport for health needs.

“Participation in club sport for girls peaks between the ages of 9-11 and, at that stage of life, there’s very little difference in sport participation between boys and girls,” Palmer said. “As girls enter their mid-teens, they start to move away from sport towards fitness-specific activities such as gyms.

“Sports can use this information to be adaptive, providing girls and women with more compelling reasons to choose sport as their primary health-related activity.

“The Australian Government’s Sporting Schools program, managed by the ASC, is in almost 6000 schools, and is one way we’re reaching more girls through sport. The increased visibility of women’s sporting leagues and teams in cricket, netball, football and AFL are creating aspirations, pathways, role models and opportunities for women.

“This is why AusPlay will continue to grow as a valuable tool for the Australian sport sector, because the data and evidence it provides will enable the industry to keep its finger on the pulse of Australian activity and influence the future of sport in this country.”

AusPlay also revealed parenthood is impacting participation in physical activity, but more on fathers than mothers. Statistics show 57 per cent of fathers who only have young children (aged 15 or younger) participate in physical activity, compared to 61% of mothers.

AusPlay is the most comprehensive national population tracking survey into sport and physical activity in Australia and provides the sport sector with vital insights into participation for adults and children. AusPlay data will continue to inform the development of the National Sport Plan, due for release in mid-2018.

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Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.
650 thousand Australians either coach, teach or instruct sport.