§ Mr. Spring
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what initiatives he has undertaken to encourage more female participation in sport; and what meetings he has had with(a) women's groups and (b) the Minister for Women in this respect. 
§ Mr. Tom Clarke
We are determined to improve opportunities for women of all ages and at all levels in sport. That goes for participants, competitors, coaches and administrators.
The UK and Home Country Sports Councils actively encourage women to get involved in all sports. They are underlining the significant achievement of women in sport and helping improve levels of participation. The National 589W Lottery is having a big impact in this area. Organisations must demonstrate ways in which they are helping to increase the participation of women in order to secure funding. This is proving very successful in encouraging more women into sport, including those sports traditionally regarded as male-dominated. We shall continue to work with the Sports Councils to examine further ways to help women in sport.
I met Ms Kamlesh Bhal, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission, on 29 July 1997 to discuss a number of issues, including women in sport. Although my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport has not met any women's group in particular, he has met a number of women who are involved in women's sport and will continue to do so.
My hon. Friend hopes to meet the Minister for Women to discuss women's sport in due course.