Beating the gender sports gap

Published: Thursday 16 February 2023

Last summer, Nuffield Trust announced that 47 per cent of women hadn’t done any vigorous exercise in the previous 12 months, compared to 34 per cent of men. Yet most women want to do more exercise, so what’s holding women back?

This International Women’s Day, on Wednesday 8 March 2023, the theme is #EmbraceEquity and we’ll be encouraging women of all ages in the borough to take part in activities at Kensington Leisure Centre and Chelsea Sports Centre. With many women-only classes taking place throughout the day, it’s a great chance to find out about the free and affordable options available, meet other local women in a fun, welcoming environment – and enjoy a free hot drink after taking part in a class.

Women's main reasons for not engaging in regular exercise are: time, cost, health or ability and embarrassment. With women overwhelmingly remaining primary caregivers, and amidst rising childcare costs, women often don’t feel they have time to exercise. The cost of joining gyms, or feeling uncomfortable with their appearance or being in sports environments are all further reasons why women are hesitant to exercise. Older women also can be nervous of trying new health activities, especially if they are trying it for the first time, or after a long break from exercise.

In Kensington and Chelsea, the Active for Life programme, leisure centre activities and parks programmes alongside the resident card all offer affordable opportunities for women to enjoy exercise, either in the zone on their own, or with their families or friends, and they can enjoy a lot of them for free this International Women’s Day!

Cllr Emma Will, Lead Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Safety:

Over the past year, we've seen what women can achieve in sport when given opportunities. International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight the disparity between genders within sport and exercise, and how we in Kensington and Chelsea are tackling it. I’m very pleased we can offer women in Kensington and Chelsea the chance to find out about the brilliant activities that are available in the borough, and perhaps help the next generation of Lionesses and sports women find their feet too.

Women can book to try any of the free classes, as well as a discounted spa experience, which highlight the range of activities available at the borough’s leisure centres.

Information stalls from partner organisations, including Dalgarno Trust, Lancaster West, One You, Maternity Champions and Community Champions, as well as the K&C Sports Development and GLL teams, who will be on hand to discuss affordable wellbeing and healthy living advice and information on community offers and much more. 

Take a look at what’s on offer on the day and bring a friend or loved one along on the day.

Kensington Leisure Centre 

Class Time Location
Yoga (women only) 10am to 11am Studio 2
Belrobics (women only) 2pm to 3pm Studio 1
Swimming and Gym use 3pm to 5pm Main Pool and Gym
Zumba (women only) 4pm to 5pm Studio 1
Yoga (women only) 6.15pm to 7.15pm Studio 2
Spin (women only) 6pm to 7pm Group Cycle Studio

Chelsea Sports Centre

Class Time Location
Swimming and Gym use 12pm to 2pm Main Pool and Gym
Zumba (women only) 11am to 12pm Studio

Classes can be booked directly through the Better UK app, online or book with reception by popping into one of our leisure centres. You can also book by calling Kensington Leisure Centre on 020 3793 8210 or Chelsea Sports Centre on 020 7352 6985.

Dr Bike mechanics will also be on hand between 11am and 3pm to help you be extra-safe while getting fit as you cycle.

To help reclaim time to exercise, and encouraging women to see this time for exercise as not an indulgent ‘me time’ but something crucial to their health and wellbeing  more confident and happier, as well as being proud of this and setting an example to the other young women in their lives, this International Women’s Day will host taster sessions, information stalls and classes as well as free gym and swim sessions at Kensington Leisure Centre.