Women in Sport – International Women’s Day #IWD2019 #BalanceForBetter #GenderEquality
With International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March 2019, what better time to take some inspiration from some of the truly inspiring and influential women in sport today, and those that have changed their sport for the better.
There are many incredible female icons in the world of sport, but here are a handful of game-changing British women who have not only been outstanding in their field, but have made sport more accessible for the next generation and fought for equality and diversity within the game.
This year, the theme for #IWD2019 is #BalanceForBetter. And with a huge year ahead for women’s sport internationally including the Women’s World Cup for Football and Netball, the Athletics World Championships and Women’s Ashes, 2019 is the year to celebrate some of our established national sports icons, and get behind the emerging stars of the future.
Lucy is a huge star of women’s football right now – as a prized player in the England squad, she’s also recognised worldwide as one of the best players internationally. None other than Phil Neville has declared her ‘the best player in the world’. No doubt she’s quite happy with that, as that is her published mission! But Lucy really is an incredible player, majority right-back, but equally comfortable mid-field. An icon for young girls training for a professional football career, she’s outspoken on gender quality and pay equality in the sport too. The way she handled the sexist backlash after a stumble on Soccer AM at the end of last year demonstrates why she’s such a star in sport and influential personality. And it will be all eyes on Lucy Bronze and the rest of Neville’s squad as we approach the Women’s World Cup in the summer!
Now retired, Becky is the joint most decorated female Olympian swimmer for Great Britain with 4 medals, 2 of them gold – the first British Swimmer to do that for us since 1908! Part of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where the motto was ‘inspire a generation’, Becky has since retired, but kept that mission with her. On top of her TV appearances and journalism for which she is highly acclaimed, Becky has set up a swimming foundation for children with the goal of seeing every single child in the UK leaving primary school being able to swim at least 25 meters, while supporting more swimming teachers to attain their qualifications. That programme currently sees 10,000 children a week learning to swim. She’s also a high profile patron of the Women in Sport charity and has been awarded an OBE for her contribution so far.
At only 23, Dina, British Sprinter, is absolutely on track for greatness. You could argue she’s already achieved it winning a Gold and Bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and no less than 3 gold medals in the 2018 European Championships – and as a result, she’s been named ‘Fastest Woman in the World 2018’. Prior to that she won 2017 World Championship Silver, 2016 Olympic Bronze, and even 2013 World Championship Bronze in the 4 x 100m relay (she was just 18). Not to mention, she’s the British record holder too for 100m and 200m set in 2018 – 10.85secs and 21.89secs respectively.
She’s a powerful social influencer with an active and interested following of young men and women – Dina was also a model at London Fashion Week this year, but keeps her feet on the ground for her and her fans to demonstrate that all this exists for her because she works exceptionally hard to stay on top of her sprinting game – one to watch as her career unfolds for Great Britain.
Dame Kelly Holmes
Appointed ‘Dame’ Kelly Holmes for good reason, Kelly has not only been an iconic face of women’s athletics – winning 4 gold, silver and bronze medals in both Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and still holding the British record for fastest 600m outdoor, 800m, 1000m and 1500m indoor – she has also publicly shared her mental health battles with self harm and depression caused by injury, to educate and support others in a similar position. Focussing on the real challenge of aspiring to be the best athlete, and challenging the status quo within the industry at the time, she used her Social Media influence to communicate the reality of her strive to be the best. And, not long after retiring from a frankly fantastic and accomplished career, established the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust in 2008 which supports young athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds follow their dreams.