Rise in number of women participating in sport across Scotland

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The number of Scottish women participating in sports has risen by 24% over the last four years, analysis has indicated.

Figures published by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) suggests an increasing number of women are getting involved in a wide range of sports across the country.

Hockey clubs saw the number of women taking part almost double with a rise of 46% between 2014-15 (3,300) and 2017-18 (6,156).

Basketball and football also saw significant rises.

Funding announcement for Scottish football team
The Scottish Government announced funding to allow the Scotland women’s team to train full time ahead of the World Cup in France next year (Jane Barlow/PA)

Football numbers increased by 41%, with 12,202 women in the most recent results compared with 7,126 four years ago.

Rugby union saw a 22% rise, with 4,741 women participating this year over 3,664 in the previous figures.

The smallest rise was in tennis, although it still represented the highest participation overall, with 24,987 women in 2017-18 – up from 22,516.

Earlier this year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced funding for Scotland’s women’s national football team to allow them to train on a full-time basis ahead of the World Cup in France next year.

Deputy convener of the Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, Emma Harper MSP, welcomed the increased participation.

“I am delighted to see more women and girls getting involved in sport here in Scotland,” said Ms Harper.

“While funding for sport and facilities is vital in helping to get more women involved in sport, the SNP’s commitment to almost double the paid-for provision of childcare across Scotland by 2020 is just as important in helping to break down the barriers that prevent more women taking part in sport.

“While there is still more to do for female sport, I am delighted to see more and more women getting the opportunity to be part of our rich sporting culture in Scotland.”

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