UK Sport and Sport England issue ultimatum: increase women in sporting bodies or your funding will be cut.
Gender equality in sport is something that in 2016 should not be a problem. Women around the world have broken records and smashed barriers; they’ve conquered a diverse range of sports and have achieved the incredible. However, despite their accomplishments, women are still underrepresented in sport governing bodies.
Acknowledging this, UK Sport and Sport England have taken action. In order to include more women in the decision making, they have introduced a required minimum of 30% gender diversity on boards. The cost of refusal? The loss of public funding.
The new code is going to be effective for all local sport clubs, charities, authorities, and national bodies in the UK. Football Association (FA) have also been given a warning of further cuts to funding if they do not undertake said changes. Indeed, the only woman in the history of the FA governing body, Dame Heather Rabbatts, spoke to BBC Sports and stated that she was “frustrated” and “disappointed” at its failure to implement reform.
Here at Brunel, our women have truly held the torch for female athletes. Just look at the Rio Olympics. Brunel Alumni stood on podiums and took gold alongside women from across the globe.
Kathy Smallwood-Cook, a 1981 alumna who won 13 medals at the Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Games in athletics is a prime example: she held the national records for 100m, 200m and 400m.
In July 2008 another student from Brunel, Montell Douglas, broke Smallwood-Cook’s 11.10 record in the 100m.
This year in Rio, Kate Richardson-Walsh MBE - alumna and captain of both the GB and England team - led the women’s hockey team to gold.
From Team Brunel to the Sport Scholarship Programs, Brunel is always striving to expand the involvement of women in sports.
This week is an excellent opportunity to highlight such expansion with Le Nurb and the Union of Brunel Students leading the charge and joining the national #ThisBUCSGirlCan campaign, which aims to celebrate the number of female students in sport and tackle gender stereotypes.
Check out the video below:
Filmed and produced by Elisabeth Mahase (Media Chair, Editor-in-chief)