There are so many great role models in women’s sport at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we should take our foot off the gas or stop beating the drum for more inspiration. You see, the statistics still show that boys are far more likely to ‘choose’ to get involved in sporting activities – over and above what the curriculum prescribes. So, come on girls, there are women out there competing at the highest-level fighting for you – CHOOSE to fight with them.
We all know that we still have a way to go to achieve equal pay, close the door on lingering prejudices and create more opportunities for women in sport. But the fact is that there are significantly more openings today than there were twenty, ten or even just five years ago in this country. And the social evidence demonstrates that the more women do get involved, the faster and more passionately the barriers are falling.
This girl can!
At the time of writing this post, the England women’s football team – heroically known to fans as the Lionesses – have just progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup. This matches the position they achieved at the last competition, four years ago, and fans everywhere are hoping they can go all the way this time. Come on girls!
Similarly, the women’s cricket team have been performing well, as have the national rugby side, and there are so many amazing British athletes out there flying the flag for women’s sport: Dina Asher-Smith, Ellie Simmonds, Nicola Adams, Laura Muir, Johanna Konta and Katarina Johnson-Thompson are just a few of the stand-out role models who prove that #thisgirlcan. Other popular hashtags promoting the fact that the growing popularity of women’s sport can make an enormous difference in the fight for equality include #metoo and #shebelieves – but here is the message that I want to push today! What about you?
It is great that sport at the highest level is becoming more inclusive even if, as I mentioned earlier, there is still a long way to go. But, aside from all the campaigning, raising awareness and stunning performances from outstanding female athletes, the real difference comes at the grassroots. Young girls, teenagers and female school leavers need to get involved too – and the fact is that it isn’t happening enough.
I love it when the girls win…
My plea is that you highlight this fact to any young girls out there who seem to shun getting involved in sport, or think that sport is just not their thing. Ask if they believe in things like equality, women’s health and body confidence: point out some of the superstars who have fought to get to the top and ask how they inspire them.
Finally, tell them the story of SB Frankfort Under 12 Girls football team, from Plymouth. This all-girl team have just come top of their league, finishing the season unbeaten and also winning the cup competition. That in itself is an admirable feat, but the most impressive thing of all is that they did it in a boy’s league – I love that!
There is no limit to what any of us can achieve, boys or girls. The only limit is what we choose to apply ourselves to and how much we care about fighting for the things we believe in. Come on girls – show them how it is done!