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Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week 2022

By Claire Thomson

A week to educate, empower and celebrate women and girls in sport.

3-9 October 2022 marks the sixth annual Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week. Women in sport is an issue close to the hearts of so many, with every single female athlete having faced some form of adversity throughout their time in sport. 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 wellbeing of women and girls; increase female sport participation in Scotland and celebrate the achievements of all women and girls in sport, regardless of ability or level, 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 year the theme of Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week 2022 is “Visibility and Partnerships”. It aims to focus on increasing the visibility of women and girls in sport and showcasing the partnerships that are helping break down barriers, supporting and encouraging women and girls to be more active and connected. More participation and visibility of girls and women in physical activity and sport remains a priority for the Scottish Government as it was announced last October that driving up this involvement will be an important part of a £100 million push, which doubles Scotland’s sport and active budget by the end of the current Parliament. 

In recent years, we have seen a conscious effort to boost women’s sport in Scotland. There has been greater visibility on television and in the news of female competitions and achievements, and more female sports commentators and journalists. More visibility means more awareness, more interest means more sponsorship, and more funding means improved results. More females then taking up sport means more talent to develop, and more medals – creating a virtuous cycle. A prime example of this came this summer at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where Scotland celebrated young, emerging female talent, such as swimmer Katie Shanahan, and cemented powerhouses of British and Scottish athletics, Laura Muir and Eilish McColgan, as household names. 

Women in sport go further than the athletes themselves, it takes into account all the powerful, strong women behind the scenes, whether that be journalists, presenters, CEOs, committee members, officials or coaches, just to name a few. These women are slowly becoming more and more recognised. At the Scottish Press Awards in September, sports journalist and broadcaster, Heather Dewar won not only Sports News Writer of the Year but also Journalist of the Year – a major step in the right direction for highlighting female role models in Scottish print media.

But despite the surge in visibility of female athletes and sports presenters and journalists in the media and on television this summer, this year’s Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week is focusing on increasing the consistency of this presence and raising awareness to the issue, which is still very much apparent away from the major sporting events.

On 24 September, less than two weeks ago and only a few days after the Press Awards, Mark Woods, a sports broadcaster and journalist, highlighted the disparity between men’s and women’s sports media coverage by Scottish newspapers. In his tweet he said: “Struck by the Scottish newspaper sports pages this morning – 121 pages across seven main titles (excl. Times). Total stories on female sport? Six, of which three were on Emma Radacanu. That’s less than 1% of page space.” On this particular day, over 99% of the sports pages in Scottish newspapers focused on men’s sport and that’s without examining how many of the stories themselves were written by female sports journalists. The standards for celebration of women’s sport in print media are far too low. 

Fortunately, the #SheCanSheWill movement stands perfectly beside Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week and provides a platform for women to share their achievements and them enjoying taking part in sport and physical activity. It aims to empower and celebrate Scotland’s females in all sports and all aspects of sports. Sporting bodies, athletes, and male allies across Scotland will be joining in the conversation and helping with the fight for equal sporting opportunities for all, an increase in education around female health and wellbeing and tackling a lack of media coverage, sponsorships and publicity. 

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. All over the country, there have been workshops, fitness sessions and classes organised for women and girls to encourage them to participate in sport and lead an active lifestyle. 


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Adrienne Shaw

I am a girls brigade leader in Glasgow and we are looking for someone to come along to one of our evenings and talk to the girls about Women in sport. Would there be anyone I could contact and discuss this with?