Sports Editor Claire Thomson discusses the educating and empowering occasion.
25-31 October 2021 marks the fifth annual Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week. For many of us, women in sport is an issue close to our hearts, with every single female athlete facing adversity on a daily basis. Created by Scottish Women in Sport (SW/S) and Active Scotland, the purpose of this week is to: educate the Scottish public and media on the importance of sport in driving gender equality while improving the health and well-being of women and girls; increase female sport participation throughout Scotland; and celebrate the achievements of all women and girls in sport by promoting successes across the country. This week may just be one very small step towards the end goal of gender equality for all in sport in Scotland, but it has the ability to change lives forever.
"This week may just be one very small step towards the end goal of gender equality for all in sport in Scotland, but it has the ability to change lives forever."
From menstruation and body image to television coverage and pay gaps, women are already battling through a myriad of obstacles and will continue to constantly fight against misogyny in sport. The shocking statistics surrounding women in sport, really highlight these issues and put the ongoing difficulty into perspective. Only 59% of women accumulate 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, less than half an hour a day, compared to 69% of men. Less than 5% of media sport coverage in Scotland and the UK is dedicated to women's sport, and across national newspapers, a mere 1.8% of sports stories are written by women. Women's sport is estimated to receive less than 0.5% of the total value of UK sports sponsorship, whilst football, golf and cricket retain some of the largest gender pay disparities.
A difference has to be made somehow. Through the power of sport, SW/S is working to help relieve women and girls of some of the difficulties being faced to ensure that equality and parity are reached in every aspect of sport in Scotland and that all women and girls have equal opportunity to participate, officiate, coach and lead. Working alongside former professional female athletes, such as Katherine Grainger and Judy Murray, the charity is working hard to promote positive role models, encourage more media coverage, share good practice and increase investment into women and girls sport.
The #SheCanSheWill movement stands perfectly beside Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week. It aims to empower and celebrate Scotland’s females in all sports and all aspects of sports. We've all been told that we can't do something in sport because we're a girl, and too often we hear the phrase “you run like a girl” being slung as an insult. This is our time to prove the world wrong because she can and she will. By working together and encouraging others across the country to stand up for themselves and their sport, changes will happen eventually.
Throughout this week Scottish Women in Sport, alongside Scottish governing bodies and organisations, such as Scottish Student Sport, are celebrating female athletes of all levels and ages. They'll be focusing on the role of physical activity in supporting women's health and well-being, and sharing information about areas women's health that are not discussed enough.
We cannot give up. Women and girls deserve sport too. Now is the time to strive towards equal opportunities and best those statistics once and for all.
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