Boys are far more likely than girls to play sport outside of school, a study has found.
The poll of 2,000 eight to 18-year-olds found just 57 per cent of girls currently play some kind of sport outside of school or college, compared to 79 per cent of boys.
And while 45 per cent of young boys are part of a local sports team or club away from school, just 27 per cent of girls said the same.
More than a third of girls blame their lack of participation on feeling like they are not good enough to take part while 18 per cent say they are too shy.
In fact, 43 per cent of youngsters believe it is easier for boys to play sports at a grassroots level than girls.
And 47 per cent of all children surveyed perceive most sports to be male-orientated, but one quarter of 8-18-year-olds would like to play a sport usually associated with the opposite sex.
Ben Newbury, Senior Brand Manager from supporters of grassroots cricket, Yorkshire Tea, who commissioned the research in partnership with national cricket charity, Chance to Shine, said: “Sport can play a key role in building up confidence and self-esteem in children and young adults, so it is disappointing that these are the key reasons girls are playing less sport than boys.
“Women’s sport is really thriving at the moment, with female teams securing high profile wins on the world stage in sports such as cricket, hockey and netball.
“We feel more should be done to break down the barriers that make girls less likely to take up sports at a grassroots level particularly in sports like cricket, which can be perceived as male-dominated.
”Initiatives like National Cricket Week give children an equal opportunity to have fun and learn through cricket.”
The study found just four in 10 girls describe themselves as sporty – compared to almost two thirds of boys.
Football is the most common sport for boys to play outside of school, followed by swimming, tennis and cricket.
But girls are most likely to be part of a swimming club, with football, tennis and cricket also popular choices.
It also emerged that while 62 per cent of boys plan to continue playing their favourite sport once they finish their education, just 38 per cent of girls think they will.
Despite this, the poll carried out via OnePoll.com, found 55 per cent of girls said they enjoy taking part in sport and PE in school, with 21 per cent saying they would like to join a local club.
More than one in four young women would be more likely to join a sport if their mum played and another 54 per cent would do so if their friend did it.
It also emerged half think attitudes and opinions towards women’s sports have changed for the better thanks to big wins for female teams in cricket, netball and hockey.
But when it comes to female role models for girls, very few are sport stars, with mum coming out as the top choice, followed Harry Potter star and activist Emma Watson.
Out of the top ten female role models, only one sportswoman was featured, athlete Jessica Ennis Hill.
Royal bride Meghan Markle, vlogger Zoella and reality star Kim Kardashian also featured in the top 10.
On the back of this research, Chance to Shine is holding a girls’ cricket festival at Frenchay Cricket Club in Bristol on Tuesday 19th June, as part of the fifth annual Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week.
Girls from across the South West are invited to come and play cricket and be coached by two inspirational players from the England Women’s Cricket Team.
Laura Cordingley, Chief Executive of Chance to Shine, added: “We want to give children of all abilities and walks of life the chance to play cricket and are always working hard to help young people to develop key life skills through the sport.
“We’re very proud of how our coaches can help girls to develop the confidence that will encourage them to not only play more cricket but also to play more sport in general.
“We know how quickly girls can come to decide they are ‘sporty’ or ‘not sporty’ and we are working hard to ensure that all feel comfortable taking part in regular physical activity.
“We’re also proud to play our part in inspiring the next generation of cricketers – it’s great to hear that the majority of girls do enjoy sport and the World Cup winning England cricket team are powerful role models for young girls to emulate.
“Events like the girls’ cricket festival and our wider work show that it truly is a game for all to take part in.”
Most popular sports for boys to play outside of school:
Most popular sports for girls to play outside of school:
Top 10 female role models for girls
1. Their mum
2. Emma Watson
3. Jessica Ennis-hill
4. Meghan Markle
7. Their grandmother
8. Kat Von Dee
9. Kate Middleton
10. Kim Kardashian