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Without women in the sports pages getting girls to play is a losing battle | Tanya Aldred

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The woeful lack of images of female athletes in the media is undermining the fine efforts to increase participation

A mother runs through the park pushing a baby in a buggy, chatting away as she does: “Come on, baby, not far now.” Then we see a young woman learning to swim, one exercising in an outdoor gym, another hula-hooping in the kitchen, a group of friends on a trampoline. The images come thick and fast: black, white, pony-tailed, hijabed, older, younger, somewhere in the middle, to the glorious strains of Barbra Streisand belting out Don’t Rain on My Parade.

Do you notice any wrinkles, any dimples in their thighs? Hell, no! And if you do – this ain’t for you. This is for all those many women out there who avoid exercise because of that very fear, the fear of being judged.

Related: How can women’s sport become equal to men’s? Through bravery | Catherine Spencer

Related: Women’s cricket to stand on its own feet at milestone World Twenty20 | The Spin

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