Women and Girls in Sport Week

Karate fastest growing sport for girls.

The five fastest growing sports for girls in Scotland have been revealed in new statistics to mark the start of Women and Girls in Sport Week. 

The sports with the biggest increase in participant sessions between 2011/12 to 2016/17 are:

  • Karate – more than quadrupled
  • Dodgeball – more than quadrupled
  • Cross Country – more than doubled
  • Tennis – almost doubled
  • Rugby Union – almost doubled

The top three sports by total participation sessions are netball, football and gymnastics, according to data collected from the Active Schools programme.

Sports Minister Aileen Campbell said:

“Increased participation in sport and physical activity improves health and wellbeing, helps with self-esteem and, at the elite level, brings international success. As our first-ever Women and Girls in Sport week will show, increasing numbers are getting involved in the such a diverse range of sports.

“For a long time, activity levels among girls has trailed boys and we know there is much more still to do. That’s why we’re working to address the barriers that too many girls and women still face when it comes to getting involved. 

“From the Olympic podium to the grassroots, there is a huge amount of success to celebrate across Scotland. The week offers a fantastic opportunity to highlight positive stories while driving the changes that will encourage more women into sport and physical activity in the future.”


Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week runs from 1 to 8 October with a programme of activity to encourage more women into sport and physical activity, raise awareness of those regularly taking part at all levels, and address the barriers that lead to lower activity rates among women.

The statistics measured growth over six years from the 2011-12 to the 2016-17 academic years, and is based on the top 20 participation sports in Active Schools.

The full figures are as follows: Karate (from 9,915 to 34,544 ); Dodgeball (from 7,450 to 24,004); Cross Country (from 34,694  to 76,279); Rugby Union  (from 29,121 to 57,460);

Tennis (from 21,798 to 41,232); Netball (308,601 to 484,737); Football (185,238 to 325,659); Gymnastics (108,750 to 201,635).


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