21 February 2014 - Tory sports minister accused of sexism
Cheerleading, gymnastics or ballet? Tory minister accused of sexism after suggesting British women should take up 'feminine' sports
Alex Delmar-Morgan (The Independent)
A Tory minister has been accused of sexism after suggesting British women should take up “feminine” sports like cheerleading.
Helen Grant, the sports and equalities minister, said some women were put off sport after being forced to play football at school and should turn their hand to cheerleading, gymnastics or ballet, The Daily Telegraph reported.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph’s WonderWomen website, Grant said:“[Women] don’t have to feel unfeminine.”
“There are some wonderful sports which you can do and perform to a very high level and I think those participating look absolutely radiant and very feminine such as ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating.”
The Telegraph interview of Helen Grant
Radhika Sanghani (The Telegraph)
The London Olympics 2012 were meant to change everything. We were meant to see women all over the UK start connecting with sports after school, in a bid to emulate Jessica Ennis and Rebecca Adlington. TV channels and mainstream media were meant to broadcast more women’s sports, and schoolgirls were going to ditch dolls for football.
But, two years later, there is still a gender gap of about 1.8 million between the number of men and women doing sport on a regular basis. “It has actually reduced. It was about 2.2 million a while ago so it is going down,” says Helen Grant, Conservative MP for Maidstone and The Weald and minister of sports, equalities and tourism. “But that’s still a pretty big difference,” she admits.
It isn’t as though we are being inundated with coverage of women’s sports either. Recently, England won the women’s Ashes in cricket but hardly anyone saw their victory. “There wasn’t much on TV was there?” says Ms Grant. “Unfortunately there hasn’t been the amount of media coverage we need if we’re going to close this gender gap.”
More from the telegraph
Radhika Sanghani (The Telegraph)
The nation’s female Olympians have more than proved themselves at Sochi, winning all of Britain’s medals so far.
So there was less than universal acclaim when a minister suggested on Thursday that women put off by “unfeminine” sports might prefer to take up cheerleading.
Gymnastics and ballet would also leave them looking “absolutely radiant”, according to Helen Grant, the sports and equalities minister.
Miss Grant said she was worried that women were being put off by memories of being forced to play football at school.
Instead they should consider taking up “feminine” sports.
Currently 1.8 million fewer women than men take part in regular sport. In an interview with The Telegraph’s WonderWomen website, she said: “[Women] don’t have to feel unfeminine.
A different tone
Matt Chorley (The Daily Mail)
A female sports minister was ridiculed last night for suggesting the way to get more women into sport is to encourage them to take up cheerleading.
Helen Grant said girls are put off sport because they are afraid of looking sweaty and ‘unfeminine’.
The sports and equalities minister said there are plenty of feminine sports which allow girls to look ‘radiant’, such as cheerleading, ballet and roller-skating.
Her comments were criticised by anti-sexism campaigners and will not impress female athletes toiling away at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The Conservative MP for Maidstone and The Weald said: ‘[Women] don’t have to feel unfeminine.
‘There are some wonderful sports which you can do and perform to a very high level and I think those participating look absolutely radiant and very feminine such as ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating.’
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"21 February 2014 - Tory sports minister accused of sexism", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), février 2014. Consulté le 07/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/21-february-2014-tory-sports-minister-accused-of-sexism