Vicky Williamson has helped launch Sportside's Gender Play Gap campaign ©British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association

British bobsleigh athlete Vicky Williamson has participated in the launch of a "Gender Play Gap" campaign led by Sportside, which aims to help increase participation in women's sport.

Sportside, an application which matches people to sports, hopes their campaign will empower women with the confidence to speak out and to make change happen.

Evidence from Sport England has suggested participation in sport and physical activity had never been higher prior to the coronavirus outbreak, while adding that data has shown two thirds of adults consider exercise to be more important than ever during the crisis.

The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the disparity between men's and women’s sport, Sportside said.

It expressed hope that the crisis provides an opportunity to re-calibrate the way women's sport is viewed.

Williamson, an ambassador for Sportside, said there were barriers to women participating in sport.

"Sport should be inclusive, and it should be accessible for everyone," she said.

"Women across the world want to take part, but there are barriers to their participation.

"It's hardly surprising that participation in women's sport is lower than men's sport.

"You just need to look at the salary difference between the top men and the top women to scratch the surface of why women are less inclined to pursue a career in sport."

Williamson is pursuing a second career within elite sport, having switched from cycling to bobsleigh last year.

During her cycling career, Williamson won a 2013 World Championships bronze medal in the team sprint alongside Becky James, as well as World Cup titles and a leader's jersey.

Williamson was forced to battle back from a serious crash in January 2016, which saw her break her neck and back and dislocate her pelvis.

She made her return at the Track Cycling World Championships in 2019, before making the switch to bobsleigh.

Sportside said that financial obstacles, caring responsibilities, a lack of self-confidence and a shortage of facilities are among reasons given for women not participating in sport.

Chief marketing officer Hermione Way said the coronavirus pandemic has threatened to destroy progress made in women's sport in recent years.

"At Sportside we are a community built on our love of sport, and sport is at its best when it's inclusive regardless of age, gender or background," she said.

"That's why we are delighted to be launching our Gender Play Gap campaign placing an emphasis on the importance of physical activity, particularly among women.

"Under participation in sport among women is a long-running problem, and improvements have been made in recent years.

"But COVID-19 has the potential to destroy the progress we have made, and we can't let that happen."