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Women in British Motorsport

Volume 721: debated on Wednesday 26 October 2022

3. If she will take steps with Cabinet colleagues to encourage more women into British motorsport. [R] (901840)

This Government and I are absolutely committed to supporting women’s sport at every opportunity, pushing for greater participation, employment, commercial opportunities and visibility in the media. We want to continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that all aspects of women’s sport continue to flourish. I welcome the W Series, as it provides equal opportunities for women to compete competitively in motorsport. I also recognise what organisations such as Motorsport UK and the British Women Racing Drivers Club are taking forward to increase women and girls’ participation within the sport.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that answer. As she said, the all-female W Series championship is another jewel in the crown for British motorsport, won for the third time this year by British driver Jamie Chadwick, but it has sadly had to curtail the season by three races, with the sad reality being that women’s sports such as the W Series have much lower funding available than their male counterparts. Will my hon. Friend commit to working with the W Series to help it continue to support women drivers, engineers and mechanics into motorsports?

My hon. Friend is a fantastic champion for motorsport, and, as he knows, I am more than a little bit of a petrolhead myself. I approach motorsport with an enormous amount of enthusiasm and almost no talent, which is probably the problem. I also add my congratulations to Jamie Chadwick. I did watch the championships and she did a phenomenal drive. It is disappointing that the season was cut short, and we want women’s sports to thrive. The Government are unable to intervene directly, but the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with the wider support sector on the commerciality of women’s sport and how it can be promoted.

One way to encourage more women into motorsport and, indeed, into every job and every industry is to make workplaces endometriosis-friendly. One in 10 women have endometriosis, and it has a huge impact on the workplace. What encouragement can the Minister give to companies to adopt the Endometriosis UK strategy to make all workplaces endometriosis-friendly?

I could not agree more with the hon. Lady. Women’s health issues are coming to the fore in the workplace. Although I do not have the level of detail to commit exact policy, I will get the Department of Health and Social Care to write to her about the matter.