International Women’s Day: fairer pay, wider audience, better coverage’ – what our female athletes want in 2025 | Football News Sky News

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On International Women’s Day, we ask a group of leading sportswomen where women’s sport has been in the past five years, what change they want to see by 2025 and how they can keep young girls active.

Perception and professionalism are two key developments for some of our athletes in the last five years. But what about the future of women’s sports? What needs to be done or changed to continue to improve the women’s sport?

England and Manchester City captain Steph Houghton, WBO super heavyweight champion Natasha Jonas, England cricket captain Heather Knight, England rugby captain Sarah Hunter, British tennis player No. 2 Heather Watson and two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick evaluate the evolution of their teams. Make your own sports and determine what needs to happen to keep improving.

And according to a recent report by Women In Sport, what message might our leading women of athletes have for girls considering quitting sports if the more than a million girls who consider themselves athletic in primary school lose interest in physical activity during adolescence? ?

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in women’s sports in the last five years?

Stephen Houghton: The biggest change is probably the perception of women’s sport as a whole. I think people now see us all as athletes and people trying to excel and compete in their sport rather than our gender.

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Steph Houghton celebrates with Manchester City teammates after winning the FA Women’s Continental Tire League Cup

Natasha Jonas: With the support of major platforms, companies and a change in attitude, there has been a positive change in women’s sports for the better at all levels. It’s visible, it’s approved, and fans/viewers are backing it up and supporting it. Governing bodies do an incredible job of staying relevant and recognizing the need for change. Women (and men in male-dominated sports) support, encourage, motivate, empower, encourage and celebrate each other.

Heather Knight: In general, I think that the perception of women in sports has changed drastically. People accept it better now, it’s more normalized. Definitely more professional, I think that contributed to the change in perception.

Sarah Hunter: Probably the biggest change I’ve seen is professionalism. We’re seeing more and more women being paid to play the sport they used to play for free. It’s something I’ve experienced first hand. I’ve been playing for England since 2007, but I didn’t get my first full-time professional contract until 2019. Young girls who play sports may now think, “I can be a professional athlete when I grow up”, which has always been the case with boys and now with girls.

England's Sarah Hunter (left) faces New Zealand's Ayesha Leti-I'iga at the Autumn International match in Sandy Park last October.
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UK’s Sarah Hunter tackles New Zealander Ayesha Leti-I’iga in an international fall at Sandy Park last October

Heather Watson: I feel like team sports are getting a lot more popular, which is great to see because most of us start out with team sports when we’re young. You see a lot more promotion of sports like women’s basketball and football than leagues and in the media, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Jamie Chadwick: I’d say the biggest change I’ve seen is the number of big brands and sponsored partners involved in women’s sports. The biggest is Visa, investing the same amount in the men’s World Cup championship partnership as they invested in the women.

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W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick talks about his future and the possibility of working with Caitlyn Jenner and the Jenner Racing team.

What is one thing you would like to see change in women’s sport by 2025?

Houghton: All I want to see in all sports is for more fans to come to watch all sports live. We need a larger audience to make our sport more sustainable.

Dolphin: Fairer pay scales, continued support for growth and development, women’s inclusion on the board and decision-making levels, and greater media visibility.

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Nasser Hussain and Mel Jones discuss England’s chances of securing the Women’s Cricket World Cup title in New Zealand.

Knight: I would love to be in a lot more media outside of big events. At the moment, I think it should be less than 10% especially in the print media and more media coverage to drive this change and other events other than the World Cups and the Games. The Olympics.

Hunter: I want to see women’s sport on an equal footing with men’s sport so we stop talking about changes or what we need to do more to support women’s sport. We would have equal visibility on television and in the media. Commercial sponsors would invest in teams, sports, individuals and competitions as well as in men’s sports, and we built fan bases selling games, matches and events.

Watson: I have always had the opportunity to play tennis, which paved the way for women’s sports. However, despite this, and even in tennis, we do not see the same level of coverage for women’s sport as for men. Sport has always been viewed as a predominantly male activity, so what I would most like to change is for women’s sport to be respected as much as men.

Chadwick: I would still like to see higher participation rates – the number of girls participating in grassroots sports and increased participation at a younger age.

How do you ensure that young girls do not quit sports and what message do you have for girls who are moving away from sports?

Houghton: If we can continue to develop the health, self-esteem, and relationship benefits of being active and playing different sports for young girls in schools or clubs, we have a better chance of retaining girls in sports.

We have a chance to show this as a role model in many different sports that are shown on the live broadcast, and the more visible we are, the more it may become an option for girls to follow this path in the future.

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WBO super heavyweight champion Natasha Jonas says the England-Scotland match against WBA champion Hannah Rankin will be a showcase for women’s boxing.

Dolphin: Make a wider range of sports more accessible by removing as many obstacles as possible. I don’t know how to do this. Celebrate grassroots and give them a greater platform, promoting positive body image, which is heavily funded and supported by emphasizing all the different shapes, sizes and body types in sport.

There’s a sport for everyone, at any level. The fun is to try as hard as you can and find what works for you.

Knight: I think a lot of girls go because there are other things and it’s an embarrassment that young girls go through sometimes. Sometimes as a teenager being involved in sports isn’t what you’re supposed to do, so we can change perception more and do things a little differently to make the girls feel included and maybe keep them with a group of friends. [is important]. If girls are quitting sports, I would ask why and what we can do to bring friendship groups together and help girls maintain this active lifestyle.

Hunter: I think we need to make sports fun, diverse and accessible to prevent girls from dropping out of school during adolescence. We need to make sports attractive and “cool” to make young girls want to continue the sport. We need to bring sport to life and bring it to life through the way young people interact with each other. For example, how do platforms like Tik Tok make young girls want to continue sports? We have to think outside the box how we have tried to keep young girls in the sport in the past.

My message to girls who are moving away from sports is to stay and continue playing. You started doing sports because you love; Try to give him another chance to let him give it back to you and make sure you understand why you started playing in the first place. It will be the best decision you will ever make. You can be the next Olympic champion or world champion, you can turn your hobby into a full time professional job, you can travel the world doing what you love, but most of all you will meet amazing people and above all you will meet amazing people. make friends. because life and sport will guide you and develop you as a person in a way that nothing else can.

Watson: I think the most important thing is to encourage young girls to think that sport is fun, social and part of a healthy lifestyle. Sport is very cool and can provide invaluable opportunities and experiences that will benefit you greatly in the future – I have been fortunate enough to pursue a career in sport, but there are many other benefits to health, society and well-being that sport can bring to anyone. I say definitely stick with it – you won’t regret it!

Heather Watson from England
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Heather Watson is currently number 2 in the UK in the women’s singles rankings

Chadwick: I would say it’s important to have positive role models that attract more attention to women’s sport and more media attention and exposure to show the accessibility of sport. We also need to inspire girls to keep progressing in the sport. It’s an old cliché but “you have to see it to have it”. If you love to do it and have the opportunity to do it, then let nothing stop you from doing it, because there are many other opportunities in sports besides just being an athlete at every level. There are many opportunities in sports – now more than ever.