Women’s Sport Week

There is nobody better placed to talk about Women’s Sport Week than the CEO of Women in Sport, Ruth Holdaway. Ruth took up her role as Chief Executive of Women in Sport in November 2013 and since joining the Charity she has set about creating and embedding a new vision to transform sport for the benefit of every woman and girl in the UK.

Welcome to Women’s Sport Week! In its second year, Women’s Sport Week is a celebration and showcase of the brilliance that women’s sport can bring – at every level. From the benefits that come from playing sport from a young age to develop life skills, to the benefits sport can bring to your health as your body changes with age. From the inspiration of major events like the Olympic and Paralympic Games and World Cups, to the economic growth sport contributes to in the UK.

Sport is essential – it’s as simple as that. Sport really should just be a normal part of life – something you do as a kid, take with you into adulthood, possibly make a career out of on the field of play or in the office of the governing body, and something you enjoy as entertainment – be it having fun with family and friends playing rounders in the park or just cheering on your local team.

But for many, many – too many – women, this is not the case. Women in Sport is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming sport for the benefit of every woman and girl in the UK. Our research shows the huge gender gap that exists in sport. 1.6m fewer women playing sport once a week than men, around 50% of the National Governing Bodies of sport with less than 25% of the membership of their Board made up of women, only 17% of female coaches in sport, only 0.4% of all commercial investment in sport going to the women’s game…the list of inequalities goes on. It needs to stop: right here, right now.

Women in Sport is privileged to work with fantastic partners like the BBC, Sky Sports, British Rowing, the Women’s Sport Trust, Sport England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Together we have created Women’s Sport Week – a week when the nation can celebrate the successes of our brilliant female athletes. Just remind yourself of the more recent achievements, like GB’s Hockey team and individuals like Dame Sarah Storey winning golds in Rio; England’s Lionesses bringing back a bronze medal from the FIFA World Cup, or, better still, England’s women winning the Rugby World Cup…I could go on and on. And on.

Women’s Sport Week is also a time for all of us women, who lead busy and complicated lives, to remind ourselves that there is a sport out there for all of us. We may not have loved sport at school, but as the This Girl Can campaign has reminded us, talented or not, sport can make us feel good about ourselves, give us back a bit of sparkle and be great fun. I hope Women’s Sport Week will give mums, daughters, aunties, sisters and nieces nationwide, the inspiration and practical help to give sport a go. For more on this check out and @womeninsport_UK or simply #WSW16. Finally, I really hope Women’s Sport Week will awaken brands to the power of sport: a healthy workforce will improve your productivity – so help your employees, and yourselves, to get active. And as we showcase how successful our women are, I hope an increasing number brands will see the potential to reach out to their customers by supporting and sponsoring women’s sport.Women’s Sport Week is great – but ironically I’d like it to be a thing of the past. The sooner we reach a point where the statistics I mentioned above start to level out, our work will be done – and I for one look forward to that day.

Happy Women’s Sport Week – for as long as it’s needed.

This year Women in Sport is proud to launch Women’s Sport Wednesdays, a fundraising campaign encouraging the nation to come together to play sport and raise money to help women and girls reach their full potential through sport. For more information on how you can get involved click here.