During the webinar and panel discussion celebrating International Women’s Day 2022, we highlighted our intention to address the gender imbalance in table tennis by setting the future ambition to achieve gender parity.
51%* of the population in the UK are women, but as a sport only 12% of members, 17% of coaches and 3% of club or league presidents are women.
To achieve gender parity, we will have a shameless focus on increasing the number of women and girls involved, and making table tennis a space where women and girls feel welcomed, valued, visible and have the opportunity to progress. This will be aligned with the goals set out in the Level the Table strategy to diversify the sport.
Table Tennis England National Attendance Manager Jenny Leach led the work for women and girls.
She said: “First of all, I want to thank the four amazing women who participated in our #breakthebias roundtable. If you haven’t seen it yet, I urge you to catch up and hear about different experiences in sport
“There has been a real shift over the last year with clubs and leagues wanting to increase the number of women and girls in their clubs or leagues. These projects have shown how creating women-only opportunities and the right deals can have an impact. I look forward to building on this and creating more women-only spaces and opportunities across England.
“The biggest challenge we face when we want to increase the number of women and girls in sport is understanding the barriers and how to overcome them. One of the ways we have recently tried to do this is to take advantage players in competitions. We’ve increased the flexibility of what clothing can be worn in competitions and removed the need for referee approval. In competition, the only thing a player should worry about is doing their best performance, not to feel uncomfortable in what they are wearing Following the rule change at national level, Table Tennis England presented a proposal to the ITTF Annual General Meeting for discussions and a debate begin internationally regarding the established rules for the choice of clothing, which have been unanimously adopted.
“Looking to the future, I hope you will support us and commit to joining us in making sport a more welcoming and tolerant place for women and girls.”
Greg Yarnall, Director of Development adds:
“Through surveys and direct contact with our female members and women involved in the sport, we clearly understand that for many people table tennis looks and feels like a space designed and dominated by and for women. men.
“It doesn’t deny that there are women and girls who are having fantastic experiences in sport and that there are clubs, leagues, coaches and volunteers who are doing a great job of creating inclusive spaces. , but we cannot ignore that there are also women and girls who have very bad experiences and who are put off playing and participating Our analysis shows that women would like to be more engaged in our sport and when they have the right opportunities, they do it!So gender parity is not only important to our inclusivity program, but also to the growth, development and future of our sport.
“Our commitment to women and girls does not mean that men’s participation becomes less important – we will continue to work hard to develop opportunities for men and boys as well, but we must recognize the disparity that exists. We are therefore wholeheartedly committed to #LevelTheTable for women and girls and, going forward, a much higher percentage of our time, funding and energy will be dedicated to increasing opportunities for women and girls in our sport.
“It’s clear as a sport that we have to be willing to do things differently to change the narrative. We need everyone’s support to achieve gender parity and #LeveltheTable.”
We want to continue breaking down barriers to increase the number of women and girls involved in sport. If we want to create women-only spaces and increase the number of women and girls in visible roles, we will need to increase the number of women in the table tennis workforce.
Rewatch our International Women’s Day webinar and panel discussion below, which outlines our vision for the future.
We will also be offering 50% off the Coaching Level 1 course to candidates until March 17, 2022. To take advantage of this offer, please email [email protected]by telling us which course you would like to attend and a discount code will be sent to you.