Maidstone and Weald MP Helen Grant criticised for suggesting women take up cheerleading and ballet
Sports minister Helen Grant has come under fire for suggesting British women should be encouraged to take up "feminine" sports - such as cheerleading and ballet.
The Maidstone and the Weald MP has been criticised by Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project, who described the comments as "discouraging".
Her views were condemned for focussing on the looks of athletes and not their achievements.
Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald
Helen Grant MP for Maidstone and the Weald
The Tory frontbencher's comments were made in an interview with the Telegraph's WonderWomen website, where Mrs Grant was asked how to address the gender gap in sports.
“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" - Helen Grant
Around 1.8 million fewer women take part in regular sports than men.
She said: “[Women] don’t have to feel unfeminine.
“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.
“We really need to take a step back and actually ask women what they want and give it to them."
She suggested that Zumba and rounders might be more appealing than traditional sports like hockey, tennis or athletics.
She spoke of having recently watched "gorgeous" girls aged between seven and 17 rollerblading at a YMCA event.
Mrs Grant took to Twitter to defend her comments. She told her followers: "Disappointing to see comments I made to the Telegraph on women in sport now taken completely out of context.
Do you agree with Helen Grant's views on 'feminine' sport?
"Was making the point that there is a sport or type of physical activity out there for all women.
"For some women it will be traditional sports like tennis or football, for others extreme sports like freestyle skiing and for others dance."
What do you think? Join the debate below.
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