Sport proves to be invaluable for building young women’s confidence

  • 92% of young women gain new-found confidence through playing sport, with 87% of parents and teachers seeing the same effects in young people as a whole
  • Over half of young women (57%) believe social media affects their self-esteem yet 93% of young women also agree that playing sport has had a positive impact on their self-esteem
  • 79% of young women want to see more female role models in sport

 On International Women’s Day, Gallagher — community insurance broker, title partner of Premiership Rugby and now official partner of Project Rugby — has unveiled new research that proves playing sport has a positive impact on young women’s confidence and self-esteem. 

The UK-wide survey found 92% of young women (aged 14 to 18) have developed greater self-confidence through playing sport while 93% agreed it had also boosted their self-esteem. The same positive impact of sport was noticed by parents and teachers, with 87% agreeing they have seen the same effect.

Wanting to improve their confidence and well-being was also the second most common reason, given by young women aged 14 to 18 taking part in the survey, for getting involved in sport in the first place, after seeking to improve fitness. 

To further bolster this positive participation effect, both young women (79%) and their teachers (84%) believe more female role models are needed in sport, and that professional sportswomen are a key factor in introducing and encouraging new participants to play sport. 

To help launch the research, Gallagher introduced Women’s Player’s Player of the Year 2018, Danielle ‘Nolli’ Waterman, as the company’s new brand ambassador. With an impressive career spanning over 15 years, including 82 international caps, Nolli is well placed to communicate the values, skills and life lessons that rugby teaches.

The survey findings and ambassadorship coincide with Gallagher also announcing its partnership with Project Rugby, bolstering the community insurance broker’s commitment to support not only the professional game, but also at a grassroots level across the country. 

Project Rugby offers opportunities to actively participate in the sport to those who might not otherwise have access, including those from low socio-economic backgrounds, Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) individuals and those with disabilities.

Speaking at the Project Rugby launch event, Nolli said: “It’s great to see Gallagher supporting an incredible grassroots programme like Project Rugby, which is working so hard to ensure a much broader cross-section of young people get to enjoy all the fun and fantastic, positive benefits that come from being part of a team and playing the game.

“Gallagher’s survey findings show the powerful benefits playing sport has on young women’s confidence and self-esteem. As a woman, the opportunities to play rugby when I started were limited so I’m passionate about encouraging other young women to pick up a rugby ball and build personal confidence through their involvement with the game. These findings about the positive power of sports participation only go to underline the role we all need to play, as professionals, parents or teachers, in introducing young women – and, indeed, all young people – to different sporting activities. ”

Alison Bain, Head of Marketing and Communications, EMEA, for Gallagher, commented:

“At Gallagher, our aim is to help individuals and businesses face their future with confidence, regardless of who they are, what they do and where they started their journey in life. We are delighted to be partnering with Project Rugby to help extend the reach and benefits of the game beyond traditional rugby-playing communities, particularly as our research shows the hugely positive impact that sport can have in building confidence and boosting self-esteem amongst young women.”

“Launched in 2017, Project Rugby is run jointly by Premiership Rugby and England Rugby allowing rugby to reach new communities and put the benefits of playing the sport on the agenda for many participants for the first time,” said Wayne Morris, the CSR and Community Director at Premiership Rugby. 

“The ground-breaking initiative has been one of the success stories of English rugby with more than 20,000 participants introduced to the game so far. Now, in partnership with such a passionate community broker as Gallagher, who is committed to making a difference, we look forward to Project Rugby getting a huge boost and going from strength to strength.”

To find out more about Project Rugby, visit