On Thursday 5 November the BBC hosted the inaugural meeting of an action leadership group for women’s sports at Broadcasting House, London.
The focus of the group is to investigate further into the experiences of women coaches and identify actions needed to address the current underrepresentation of women in coaching at all levels.
Sarah Wright (UK Sport) introduced the findings from their ‘Investigating the Experience of Female Coaches’ research, published earlier this year and encouraged discussions to revolve around the four key themes identified:
• Personal Challenges
• HR Policies/Processes
• National Governing Body(NGB)/Sports culture/attitudes towards women coaches
• Wider system influences
Getting more women into both sports and coaching is a hot topic at the moment with much debate happening around it.
Reach, a recently launched national campaign run by sports coach UK is one initiative attempting to address the issue. The campaign is designed to inspire more women to get into coaching and once involved, fully support them to ensure they stay engaged and motivated.
The sub-groups within the meeting were tasked with identifying actions that could be implemented to help address the four key themes identified from the UK Sports research. Conversations focussed around tackling the challenges that women face in striking a work/life balance, inconsistencies that exist around recruitment, the perceptions around the value of a woman coach and wider influences like a lack of role models.
Sarah Miner, Inclusion and Diversity Lead at sports coach UK attended the event and played a key role in the discussion. She said:
“It was really exciting to see so many people at this event who have a passion for women in coaching. It shows that there is a great deal of support for our work in this area. We intend to capitalise on this support and make a real difference for women currently coaching sport and those that want to start coaching.”
Attendees at the event included: Liz Nicholl, CEO, UK Sport, Victoria Cotton, Olympics Editor, BBC Sport and Cathy Hughes, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Sport England. The level of attendees clearly reflects the level of engagement around this topic at present.