School pupils inspired to consider a career in sport
UEL plays host to inaugural celebration of women in sport
School girls from east London were encouraged to pursue a career in the sports industry when they descended on the University of East London (UEL) for a celebration of women in sport.
The pupils were invited to the University to celebrate the first Nettie Honeyball Day on June 28 – named after the founder of the British Ladies Football Club.
Organised by Dr Carrie Dunn, head of UEL’s sports journalism degree course, the day began with sports participation sessions for primary school girls followed by a panel discussion for secondary school pupils.
“We wanted to organise a day celebrating women in sport and also to promote sport as a brilliant industry to work in”, Carrie explained. “Some of my colleagues at UEL and I have had careers we've loved and we'd really like other women to follow in our footsteps.”
The discussion was led by panel of female leaders in sport, including UEL lecturers Dr Marcia Wilson and Dr Kim Hastings, Sport Magazine editor and author of Kicking off, Sarah Shepherd, and Paralympic shot-putter Vanessa Daobry.
Marcia and Kim began by shining the spotlight on gender inequality not only in sports but in a variety of industries and positions of power.
“You are our future, and you are superbly capable of getting out there and bringing it home for the women,” said Kim. “You are our female adults of the workplace. We need you to go out there and effect change.”
Sarah Shepherd shared her experiences as a female woman editing and writing for Sport Magazine and how the media represent female athletes.
She said, “When you look at the way certain sections of the media cover women’s tennis, it’s not to look at them as tennis players or about how good a player they are or how bad a player they are. It’s to say, ‘look at her outfit’. If a young woman is reading that, she thinks, ‘well, I don’t want to be under that kind of scrutiny’.”
Vanessa, who hopes to be selected for the Rio Paralympics, gave an inspiring talk about her own sporting journey.
“I wasn’t very good at first but I liked it,” she said. “I came back to it in January 2015. By April I did my first competition and by June I was No 1 in the country!
“We as women have a tendency to put other people first. We almost self-sacrifice what we want because we want to make sure that everybody else is okay and we feel it’s not okay to put ourselves first. But you do need to look after yourself. It’s not selfish.”