We know that women and girls are having fantastic experiences in table tennis, supported by a number of schools, clubs, leagues, coaches and volunteers, who are doing great work to create inclusive spaces – here are a few examples recently shared in connection with Sport England’s latest campaign to help women and girls find enjoyment from sport and exercise.

However, we continue to appreciate the disparity of women and girls involved in table tennis, and that challenging experiences and barriers are putting off groups of women and girls wanting to play and participate in the sport.

New insights into how we can support women in midlife and menopause to get active through table tennis are now available following research carried out in collaboration with Women in Sport.

Our approach

Colleagues from Women in Sport hosted six focus groups: two targeting menopausal women ages 45-65 who are current Table Tennis England members; two aimed at menopausal women ages 45-65 who were physically inactive and non-members of Table Tennis England; and two for male and female coaches who have coached women in this life stage.

This research, supported by wider data and insights from Women in Sport, clearly demonstrates that women in midlife and menopause want to be more active, and that table tennis presents good opportunities – it is considered accessible, it can be played at a pace that suits/casually, and the social benefits of the sport were widely referred to by those involved.

Together with ideas about how the delivery of table tennis can be tailored, shared insights look at ways and techniques to engage women in midlife and menopause across our marketing and communication channels. It was also highlighted by involved coaches that we can do more in the way of providing training and development opportunities that aim to support women in this life stage.

What next?

As outlined in the Table Tennis United Year 1 Implementation Plan, we remain committed to increasing the number of women and girls taking part in table tennis.

Women in Sport have developed a substantial understanding of the barriers and enablers to support women and girls to get active, and are committed to enriching our knowledge on how we can support women in midlife and menopause – about a third of our female members being in this life stage – to get active through table tennis.

With this research being a welcome opportunity for the participating focus groups to give their feedback, we want to provide more opportunities like these in future to give women and girls better experiences in table tennis. We are achieving this in a number of ways:

  • We are creating a feedback loop with schools, clubs, leagues, coaches and volunteers through our Area Manager network, and will work with partners to highlight and learn from examples of best practice – learn more about our Area Manager network here.
  • We continue to gather ideas and learn about women and girls’ experiences in table tennis through our Women in Table Tennis Facebook group – join here.
  • We will be delivering a webinar to present the detailed findings from this research and to give you the opportunity to share your own experiences and ideas as part of National Inclusion Week celebrations starting Monday September 25. Details on how to attend the webinar will be shared closer to the time

If you have any questions or feedback relating to this research, please contact [email protected].