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Christine Ohuruogu: Reality TV culture hits push for women in sport


Britain's "reality TV culture" is acting as a barrier to young women getting involved in sport according to Christine Ohuruogu, the world and former Olympic 400m champion.

Ohuruogu spoke out as a committee of MPs held its first inquiry into the unique problems facing women's sport. The limited number of young women participating in sport is a growing concern, especially as it has not enjoyed a significant post-Olympic boost.

"We wonder how come the Olympic Games, the biggest competition in the world, came to London and it's not gained much traction," Ohuruogu told the BBC. "[It is] because there are bigger and better images that are grabbing these young people's attention.

"It's not their fault, it's our fault – it's the media's fault, the TV, magazines, the setting out these images of what women should be like and how life is going to be.

"It's about this reality TV culture that we have, where you see girls who are perfectly dressed, perfect hair, perfect nails. I don't want to put everyone in the same box, but a lot of these young women aspire to this lifestyle: get rich, get famous, do the bare minimum and life is great.

"On the other hand sport is saying work hard, be determined. When you see who won gold at London 2012 – the likes of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Victoria Pendleton – we have a whole host of women who have been working for a long time, for years, and it's not been easy. It's been hard work."

Today the Culture, Media and Sport select committee heard evidence from the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation that 80 per cent of women are not doing enough exercise to stay healthy. A lack of media coverage for women's sport is seen as part of the problem. According to the WSFF only five per cent of media coverage is devoted to women's sport.