Women in Sport has launched new research into sport and activity around the menopause with a new curation of images and films in partnership with Getty Images.
Alongside the publication of new research, the charity is calling for action both within and beyond the sport sector to ensure ‘midlife women have the chance to enjoy sport and activity and the lifelong benefits they bring’. The research was funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery through the Postcode Sport Trust,
The charity highlights Sport England's Active Lives survey, which found that one third of women aged 41 to 60 are not meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of 150 minutes per week of exercise, whilst a fifth are not achieving 30 minutes per week. As a result, Women in Sport's research examined the lives of this group of women over a five-month period to understand their experiences of menopause and physical activity and explore what is really preventing them from being active.
More than eight out of 10 women who are inactive during this time said that they want to do more exercise, but feel ‘largely ignored, invisible and undervalued, and don’t feel they have a right to sport and exercise’.
“Women start out life feeling far too visible and dealing with a running commentary on their appearance, but by midlife have traditionally been all but invisible,” said Stephanie Hilborne, CEO, Women in Sport.
“At last, our voices are beginning to be heard and the menopause talked about openly on the airwaves for the first time. In midlife, just as we face a pressure cooker of responsibility at work and time deprivation at home due to carrying the care burdens of the nation; our hormones start to play havoc with our bodies.
Female biology and societal expectations combined can feel, and be, quite brutal. As a result, all too often women are trapped in inactive lifestyles, just when we most need the joy and community of sport and outdoor exercise. Women in Sport believes passionately that women in mid-life have a right to sport and exercise and it is simply wrong that so many women are denied the joy and health benefits this brings.”
In response, Women in Sport has produced a Model of Midlife, Menopause and Exercise to explain the factors shaping women’s lives and how they affect exercise, and has identified a number of changes that can be made to aid women in getting active.
The charity has called for the expansion of perceptions of ‘what sporty can look like’; the promotion of sport and exercise by health professionals and education about menopause; better workplace policies on the menopause; the need for men to step up as allies to encourage the women around them and take on care responsibilities; and for women to be more visible in marketing within the sport and leisure sector.
To help on the latter point, Women in Sport has partnered with Getty Images to launch a curation of images, video clips and short films to showcase women who have experienced menopause and how they have approached exercise.
The charity has also launched a #menopossibilities campaign to help share those stories and bring to light the challenges, barriers and opportunities that this life stage offers.
Jacqueline Bourke, Head of Creative Insights EMEA, Getty Images, said: “Visuals have the power to make or break stereotypes; inclusive images make people feel seen, included and accepted, so it has never been more important to produce and promote visuals which authentically represent women in midlife.
“Getty Images is a passionate champion for the realistic representation of all through visuals and we are proud to work with Women in Sport on this stunning series, shot, produced and curated solely by women, which showcases women in midlife embracing the joys of sport and exercise.”
The curation of visuals will sit in Getty’s Disrupt Aging collection, with a selection seen alongside case studies on Women in Sport’s website.