Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups make up 26% of the membership in UK gyms and leisure centres.
While this indicates a positive representation in public leisure facilities, research from Sport England shows stark inequalities in BAME activity levels overall, with only 58% of black people and 54% of Asian people in England classed as ‘active’.
Data from ukactive’s Moving Communities report showed that black, Asian and minority ethnic groups make up 26% of the membership in publicly operated gyms and leisure centres.
The representation of BAME groups in the national population overall is 14%.
This clearly demonstrates that more can be done to improve inclusivity and reduce inequality in the sector.
The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA) is now partnering with Sport Alliance to undertake a survey on gender diversity, equity, equality, and inclusion in the fitness industry.
The results will be published in the second quarter of 2022, with the study also acting as a monitor on an ongoing basis.
Participation is anonymous, free of charge, and open to anyone employed in the fitness industry.
“This study on gender diversity and equity will be a living project,” says Jennifer Halsall-de Wit, COO at WIFA.
“We plan to continuously collect data to monitor developments. Every voice counts and we welcome everyone’s contribution to this important issue.”
While the fitness industry is increasingly positioning itself as a health provider, says de Wit, other socially relevant topics, such as gender diversity and equity, are not regularly addressed by the sector.
“Gender equality and an open approach to these issues is a relevant part of our modern civil society,” says Artur Jagiello from Sport Alliance.
“With this survey, we want to raise awareness of and shed more light on the current situation.”
The survey will identify and analyse unrecognised concerns, with the findings then summarised and published.
Actionable recommendations will then be made, designed to encourage decision-makers in the industry to take initiative-taking steps to progress the industry in these areas and strengthen the image of the global fitness sector.