The amazing achievement of England’s Lionesses is a seismic moment for gender equality, and an inspiration for a generation of girls (When the Lionesses won, every overlooked and patronised woman triumphed too, 2 August). But it will only have a lasting effect if we tackle the barriers that hold girls back from taking part in sport.
Our research shows that 65% of girls have missed PE because of their period, and 24% of young women are so worried about sexual harassment they have avoided exercise altogether. Girls say sexism is rife in school sports, where they are made to play different sports to boys and wear different PE kits.
This historic win can and should be a turning point for our girls – let’s get behind them as a nation with the same enthusiasm as we have our victorious Lionesses.
Emma Thompson O’Dowd
Plan International UK
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