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Female Participation

RYA East Region Initiatives to increase female participation in sailing

With Sport England’s This Girl Can Campaign having proved extremely successful at getting women into sport, the RYA have been looking at ways of increasing female participation in sailing and windsurfing.

In the East Region, Sailing Development Officer Jen Miller is taking the lead on the project, aiming to increase female participation across the Region through both getting existing non-sailing members on the water, and encouraging new members into clubs. Jen has been a Coach since 2011, and has been sailing all her life. She’d like to see more women become role models for others, and here she tells us more:

I’m heading up the development of this new initiative in the Region to get more people active in clubs through Female Friendly activity. Resources are being developed to provide help to clubs looking to start new activities, supported with help from the team of SDOs. The resources will be accessible towards the end of this year, with the intention being to have new activities in place for 2019. It would be great to see opportunities for female sailing broadened at a club level. This is something I’m very passionate about. Sailing and instructing is something I’ve been involved in from a very young age – I was born into a sailing family, but rather unusually it was my mum who sailed, who inspired my love and enthusiasm for the sport. I’ve been lucky in that it’s become my career and it’s taken me all over the world.

Now I want to pass that passion onto others. Of course, the focus on racing will always and should remain, but emphasis on other types of activity in the sport is key to those individuals that find racing intimidating, particularly at entry level (first learning to sail). In some clubs, it is women that have identified this, and groups have been developed to offer that opportunity. If clubs can harness this and use it to their advantage, participation as a whole will rise. We have also seen that more female instructors encourages participation and these can be a role model for others. We know that there is a huge opportunity to increase membership and participation within sport from Sport England research, with it currently showing that in England alone there are 2 million more men participating in sport than women. 

You can get in touch with me to find out more: jen.miller@rya.org.uk