A Tory minister has been accused of sexism after suggesting British women should take up “feminine” sports like cheerleading.
Helen Grant, the sports and equalities minister, said some women were put off sport after being forced to play football at school and should turn their hand to cheerleading, gymnastics or ballet, The Daily Telegraph reported.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph’s WonderWomen website, Grant said:“ [Women] don’t have to feel unfeminine.”
“There are some wonderful sports which you can do and perform to a very high level and I think those participating look absolutely radiant and very feminine such as ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating.”
“Whether it’s a Zumba class or a game of rounders after they’ve dropped the kids off. That’s the approach we need to take – what works for them,” she added.
Laura Bates, the founder of Everyday Sexism, said the minister’s remarks were unhelpful.
“It’s really the wrong approach to suggest that the only way for women to get involved in sports is to be girlie and feminine,” she said. “It’s actually discouraging for a minister to say this.”
Women have so far won all of Britain’s medals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
The women’s bronze in the curling on Thursday follows Lizzy Yarnold’s gold in the skeleton last week and Jenny Jones’ bronze in the snowboard slopestyle.