Minister under fire for encouraging women to take up ‘feminine’ cheerleading

Women should be open to doing more "feminine" sports like cheerleading, the sports minister has said.

Critics said Helen Grant was trading in gender stereotypes after she suggested women should look into less aggressive sports if they do not like the look of traditional options.

The Tory MP for Maidstone and The Weald told the Telegraph:

"We really need to take a step back and actually ask women what they want and give it to them.

"That can be whether it's a Zumba class or a game of rounders after they've dropped the kids off. That's the approach we need to take – what works for them.

"It's having a good spread on offer. For example some girls may well not like doing very traditional hockey, tennis or athletics, others might, so for those who don't want to, how about considering maybe gym, ballet, cheerleading?

"It's not just schools, it's clubs, it's being innovative. Actually looking at our women and our girls and asking, what do they want?"

She added:

"There are some wonderful sports which you can do and perform to a very high level and I think those participating look absolutely radiant and very feminine such as ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating."

The comment came after Britain's women won a bronze in curling at Sochi, a medal which ensures that Team GB will equal their best haul in a Winter Olympics.


Labour MP Angela Eagle said:

"I was really disappointed to see her saying what she said about cheerleading for women's sports.

"She's an equality minister, she's the sports minister and she really should be championing women getting involved in sports, not repeating lazy stereotypes about women in sports feeling unfeminine."

Grant last hit the headlines after she failed to answer a single question right about a range of sports, despite insisting it was "in her DNA".