Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.
Back in June 2015, Women in Sport organised the first Women’s Sport Week, an opportunity for everyone involved in sport to “celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK.” This week it’s back with the same goal “to celebrate and showcase women’s sport at every level, from the grassroots to the elite, and highlight the incredible contribution that women make to sport.” This is something I am passionate about and have often written about in various posts, so I have been pleased that various news outlets have been championing women’s sport this week. But by the same token, I can’t help thinking that it should be the NORM to hear reports of female sporting endeavour in daily news bulletins, not just when a “celebratory” week demands it. Women are taking part in sport EVERY week, not just in Women’s Sport Week! Still, if the overall aim is to increase participation, then I’ll play my part by rounding up some of the articles from across the week.
BBC Sport has been actively involved in promoting WSW2016 with broadcast content, columns from various sportswomen and a discussion about representations of women’s sport in the media. I’ve really enjoyed hearing women being included in the sports bulletins as I drive to work in the morning, and would love for this to continue beyond this week. I’m including a link to the page summarising the BBC’s plans for the week, as well as to a column by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in which she discusses how we can capitalise on a fantastic summer of sport.
- Women’s Sport Week 2016: What is it and How Can you Get Involved?
- Women’s Sport Week: Great Time to Raise Profile says Karen Bradley
The Telegraph has also been reporting on WSW2016, and I found their content to be very revealing, particularly the article below. With key figures in women’s sport in discussion, some of the answers they give make the issue very clear e.g. “It can still feel like women’s sport is invisible…we have to normalise women’s sport“; “women’s sport is lagging behind“; “if a piece is written…that just praises women’s sport, the comments section underneath is just the most horrific pile of misogynistic rubbish“. I was also struck by the comments on the different language used to describe male and female competitors. I encourage you to read the rest of the article and see the disparity for yourself.
Another interesting piece from The Telegraph featured four women who have competed at a high level speaking about some of their experiences and their observations on how women’s sport may have changed. Most revealing, however, are the statistics at the end showing how many women are on the boards of various sporting bodies in the UK. To me, even those boards which are meeting government criteria seem not to have enough female representation, and perhaps this is where a change needs to happen.
Closer to home, The National also reported on Women’s Sport Week, with Scotland’s Minister for Public Health and Sport highlighting the fact that despite increases in girls’ participation in sport, they are still lagging behind the boys. Like others, she is keen to see a summer of sporting triumph lead to an increase in both coverage and participation. I see every day how difficult it can be to get girls involved in sport, but when there is next to no media coverage providing them with positive sporting role models (and a positive body image, but that’s a whole other issue!) then what can we expect?
Speaking of that fantastic summer of sport, Team GB marked WSW2016 by highlighting some of our female Olympians and the wealth of talented athletes we have:
And finally, I’ve mentioned before that one of my favourite weekly inspirations is the Tough Girl podcast. Sarah Williams is committed to motivating and inspiring women and girls by giving a voice to some amazing women who have taken on an array of incredible challenges. Sarah herself is no stranger to a challenge herself and you can read more about her journey in this article for ithinksport. I find her story fascinating, and an excellent reminder that we can all do anything we out our minds to.
The Running Princess