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New 'females in fitness' collective launches to support women in the sector

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We realised that our requirements and ambitions for the UK are different to that of our partners at WIFA USA
– Elena Lapetra

A new initiative has been launched to engage and empower women working in the UK fitness industry.

Called RISE, the collective will collaborate with industry organisations – such as CIMSPA, Sport England, IHRSA and ukactive – with a mission to help every woman in fitness to "rise to her fullest potential".

The team behind RISE is formed by eight industry professionals – Elena Lapetra, founder of Stronger Wellness; Dr. Lou Atkinson, a researcher at Aston University; Marg Mayne, CEO of MyTime Active; Jess Schuring, founder and CEO of Heartcore; Fran Presho, master educator, Stages Cycles; Caroline Richings, fitness consultant; Dawn Tuckwell, co-founder of Action PR; and Grace MacNamara.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support we received from many leading organisations”, said Elena Lapetra, RISE founder and chair.

“We are delighted to be joining forces to achieve our shared goal of removing the obstacles faced by women – in particular at major points of career development. Our aim is to help enable career progression to allow everyone to reach their full potential”

Among the first initiatives undertaken by RISE will be a research study on employment in the industry.

Entitled Career progression in the fitness industry – Is it a level playing field?, the study was launched on 11 March and is managed by Aston University.

The purpose of the research is to define where support is needed to enable women and leaders in the industry to capitalise on the talent, expertise and strengths that are under-valued by many organisations today.

The collective is inviting everyone in the industry to take part (you can do so by clicking here).

Commenting on the launch of RISE and the research, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, chair of ukactive, said: “In order to address gender inequality and drive change within sport and physical activity, we must look at the boardroom as well as the grassroots.

"The physical activity sector has some of the most inspirational female leaders in the world, but we want to see far more women choosing this career path and being given the opportunity to flourish.

"ukactive is proud to support this research study so that together we can build a clearer picture of employment conditions, and ensure a level playing field for all.”

RISE will replace the original Women in Fitness Association (WIFA) UK council, which was launched in 2019 and led by Lapetra.

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A new initiative has been launched to engage and empower women working in the UK fitness industry.
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