Published Monday 13th March 2023
Last week was international women’s day and as always it is a good time to reflect on the impact women have made on our own personal lives and our wider community.
As someone who has loved sport from such an early age, this year I want to focus on the amazing things women are doing in sport and emphasis how we can make sport more accessible for women.
Over the past couple of years, there have been great accomplishments for women in support. Nationally we have seen the England women’s team win at the European Championships and more recently Arsenal and Chelsea sparked record-breaking ticket sales ahead of their Continental League Cup Final earlier this month.
It is truly amazing that women’s sports are becoming more popular at national level, and I am proud that, at local level, the success continues.
Here in South Wales we have incredible sports women, including Lauren Williams from Blackwood, who won a silver medal in taekwondo, and Lauren Price who won a gold medal in boxing, both at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
It is easy to forget in the cloud of success and media coverage women have had recently in sport, that there is still a long way to go. UNESCO found that, while 40% of all sports participants are women, women’s sports receive only around 4% of all sports media coverage. They also found that often within this coverage women are often objectified or demeaned.
The health benefits of sport are well established, including improved mental and physical health, reduced chances of obesity and improved self-confidence. Yet barriers that prevent women in playing sport still exist, including a lack of media representation and a lack of opportunities.
Sport Wales found that men were more likely than women to exercise most days a week, and in the same study found that men were more likely to feel they have the opportunity to be physically active.
The link between opportunity and participation must not be underestimated. This is why we need to increase opportunities for women to participate at a grass roots level.
This is why it is so important that we protect local facilities and foster a love of sport in schools so that the next generation of women can have true equality in sport.