Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Action on discrimination against girls and women in sport... maybe...

Big headlines (well, big for women's sport) yesterday about a new "Commission on the Future of Women’s Sport", to be chaired by Dame Tanni Grey-Thomson and including Dame Kelly Holmes, Heather Rabbatts (deputy chair of Millwall football club), and Ed Smith (journalist and former cricketer).

Building on a series of reports from the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation’s (WSFF) highlighting the low number of women and girls who play sport, and the almost invisible media profile of women's sport, it all sounds good stuff. The Commission had a ministerial launch and received coverage in most national newspapers, and on BBC News, generating more coverage for women's sport in a single day that it normally gets in a month or more.

The aim of the Commission will be to find ways to overcome the barriers in the way of girls and women playing sport. Press releases and stories were fulsome yesterday in their listings of under-representation of women in sport and commitments from Grey-Thompson to find ways to overcome them.

But (you knew that was coming, didn't you) when you look a bit deeper into this you find... nothing. This is an independent commission (well, its a WSFF commission in fact), which means it is reporting to no-one and it is not insignificant that neither Sport England nor the DCMS (home of the minister who was at the launch) give the Commission's launch any mention at all on their own websites. At this point alarm bells begin to ring because if neither of these bodies are on board at the start (and if they were you bet their press offices would say so) then neither will have any commitment to implement any of the Commission's eventual findings.

To demonstrate why that is important you need only look at the dozens of reports WSFF have produced recent years. Superbly researched, convincingly argued, and largely ignored outside an audience of the already converted. Little has changed as a result of the WSFF's work, in rugby or elsewhere. On the other hand a single line in a Sport England paper last month - "NGBs failing to make specific provision for women’s sport will see funding switched to those that do" - appears to have had a galvanising effect on the merger talks between RFU and RFUW, which had been going no-where slowly for some years. No doubt they'd deny this and say that its all a co-incidence, but looking at the timing of the Sport England statement and the breakthrough of the RFU/RFUW "Integration" policy, its a pretty remarkable one.

WSFF do some great work - their recent
11 reasons why sports should work with women and girls should be required reading by any sports club, never mind county association or governing body. The only teeny snag with the WSFF and the Commission is that until ministers and Sport England officials do more than simply turn up at press launches the people who need to read and act on these reports most are those least likely to do anything about them. There are times when compelling argument works, and times when a big stick speaks louder. An example of that might be the on-going story of rugby and the Olympic Games - more on that later.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:14 PM

    I think that this would be something very appropriate for your website to talk about. Women and girls need to be considered equals in life, and as my story shows, girls can earn the respect they deserve. A very young girls' soccer team played in a league that they dominated. The girls won every game, even against other girls that were older than them. Their coach made a bold move and put them into the boys league. This was met with some criticism, but as the girls did exceptionally well, it made people stop and think about what was fair and right concerning girls and boys. People should not be discriminated against based on gender, and these girls overcame that discrimination. Watch the trailer at and see what you think.


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