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'Grass roots change needed' to get women into sport

After sport and equality minister Helen Grant suggested that feminine sports like Zumba and cheerleading should be offered to more women in a bid to narrow the gender gap in sport, we asked ITV News Facebook page users if that was the best way to get women into sport:

  • Teresa Quintela: I think they should be getting girls into more male dominated sports. I play ice hockey and with all the discrimination and loopholes girls have to jump through to be able to play it's no wonder they don't re-education is needed from grass roots. No sport should be gender specific!
  • Wayne Baker: Creating 'feminine' sports will only widen the gap. If a woman wants to enter a sport...she should just enter it!
  • Lauren Ireta Mundy: Like what extreme nail painting? Do me a favour! Girls are just as good as boys at everything if not better!
  • Sarah Jane Roots: No. the best way to get women into sport is to support more women's teams. The British women's football, rugby and crickets teams always come higher than the men's.

You can join the conversation in the ITV News Facebook page.

Read more: Minister: Women should be offered 'feminine' sports

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Minister defends 'feminine sports' comments

Sports minister Helen Grant has said her comments about getting women into sport have been 'taken out of context'.

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Disappointing to see comments I made to the Telegraph on women in sport now taken completely out of context.

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Was making the point that there is a sport or type of physical activity out there for all women.

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For some women it will be traditional sports like tennis or football, for others extreme sports like freestyle skiing and for others dance.

Sports minister's comments 'discouraging'

Comments made by sports and equalities minister Helen Grant have been criticised by anti-sexism campaigners as "discouraging" at a time when female Olympians are leading the glory for Britain at the Sochi games.

Helen Grant.
Helen Grant. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, Laura Bates, said: "It's really the wrong approach to suggest that the only way for women to get involved in sports is to be girlie and feminine."It's actually discouraging for a minister to say this.

"With our great athletes performing fantastically at the Olympics, we still see media outlets focusing on the looks and femininity, which the comments seem to do too."

Lizzy Yarnold, 25, won the country's first gold medal at the Winter Olympics in the skeleton while Jenny Jones took a bronze in snowboard slopestyle and so did the female curling team.

Minister: Girls 'looked gorgeous and could still skate'

Speaking of a recent YMCA rollerblading event for girls aged between seven and 17 Helen Grant said:

Those girls arrived and they looked absolutely gorgeous.

They were wearing their socks pulled up, beautiful socks with sequins and their hair was done. But my goodness they could skate.

Ms Grant added that the media needs to increase its coverage of female sport and businesses also need to offer support through sponsorship.

I think we need to get to the point where women's sport is looked on and regarded as equal to the men's game. When we get to that point that's when we get the balanced coverage.

Sports minister urges women to 'take up cheerleading'

The sports and equalities minister has said feminine sports like Zumba and cheerleading should be offered in a bid to narrow the gender gap in sport.

Helen Grant said women should be given "what they want" when it comes to sport and not forced to take part in football or swimming, adding that they can still look "absolutely radiant".

Sport and equality minister says women can still look 'absolutely radiant' while doing sports such as cheerleading.
Sport and equality minister says women can still look 'absolutely radiant' while doing sports such as cheerleading. Credit: Clive Gee/PA

She made the comments to The Daily Telegraph in an interview about how to increase the number of women taking part in sport, highlighting that 1.8 million more men than women play sport regularly.

"[Women] don't have to feel unfeminine," she said."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.

"We really need to take a step back and actually ask women what they want and give it to them."Whether it's a Zumba class or a game of rounders after they've dropped the kids off. That's the approach we need to take - what works for them."

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Sports minister Helen Grant scores 0/5 on sports quiz

Sports minister Helen Grant failed to correctly answer any of the five sporting questions during an interview with ITV News Meridian.

Sports minister Helen Grant

Watch the video at ITV News Meridian

She was quizzed during a visit in her constituency of Maidstone in Kent to highlight the Government's offer of tax breaks for sport clubs over the weekend.

Ms Grant could not remember the Wimbledon Ladies' champion and claimed Manchester United, her favourite club, had won the FA Cup - not Wigan.

Read more - From Russia to bread: The questions politicians can't answer

Explaining her failure, Ms Grant said: "My sports pub quiz knowledge may not be encyclopaedic, but I understand the positive impact that participating in sport has on people's lives."

Government: Revamp of Victims' Code is 'main priority'

Victims' Minister Helen Grant said victims need more help "navigating a confusing and often intimidating criminal justice system."

A new Victims Code to be announced by the Government today will ensure victims of the most serious crime receive extra help and support including pre-trial counselling.

Helen Grant MP Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive

Ms Grant added: "I have always been clear we must put a stop to this, and make sure victims of crime are treated with the care they deserve. This total revamp of the Victims Code has been one of my main priorities and I have heard from victims just how important getting this right is."

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