Women in Sport: Celebrating Our Bodies and Demanding Change
Last night a small rag-tag group of keen Women of Keele Educate members gathered to listen to three fantastic members of the Keele Sports Center.
Presenting for us were:
- Mel Piper – Student Experience and Engagement Officer and self-confessed Quidditch obsessive
- Naomi Parton, Active Lifestyles Officer and life-long Netball player
- Nina Walker, Keele’s Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach who also competes and takes part in CrossFit.
We started with a talk about the numbers involved around women being active and involved in sport.
We found out that only 4% of sports media content is dedicated to women’s sport (UNESCO)
And that only 58% of women are meeting national aerobic guidelines compared to 68% of men (NHS, 2016)
But it’s not all doom and gloom!
Change is happening and continues to happen. We watched two inspirational videos:
We learned about the very different journey into sports careers that Mel, Naomi and Nina took, and realized that it is never too late to find that activity that becomes your passion.
The room opened up about their own experiences in sport and the barriers that can be faced.
We talked about mental health.
We talked about periods and the taboos that still surround them. You wouldn’t judge an athlete for pulling a muscle but why can’t athletes say that their periods are giving them an off day in sport?
We spoke about the positive impacts of team sports as well as the potential negative sides (like drinking cultures). We talked about sport being more than ‘traditional’ sports offerings and all the things you could do if you are just not into being a team sports player.
We spoke about the impact of ‘lad-culture’ and cat-calling / shouting when women are exercising. Sharing the frustration that when you get out the house to get active you have to overcome yet another social barrier.
We talked about the impact of others speaking out and normalizing women’s experiences.
We spoke out against body shaming and framing exercise as only good for weight loss or a way of reaching some idealized version of a female body.
Sport is so much more than this. It is an opportunity to invest in your entire well-being.
Whether you do yoga, weight-lift, run, go to classes, swim, or take part in team sports.
It is all a great way to celebrate yourself.
Women’s bodies are fantastic and we wanted to celebrate ourselves in all forms,
Finally, we fan-girled over our sports heroes and decided that this talk was an essential one to have again next semester as part of our freshers offering.
If you want to get involved in sports at Keele:
Or follow their Facebook page by searching for Sport Keele.
Join us for the next WOKE events soon!