A Staffordshire University academic is working to make sport a level playing field, highlighting the successes of women in sport and campaigning to break down barriers faced by women working in the sport and exercise industry.
Earlier this month, the university hosted its second annual networking event to promote positive female role models and offer support for young women forging careers in sport and exercise.
The evening featured guest speakers including former table tennis champion Angela Smith, who now works for Stoke City Football Club.
Dr Jacky Forsyth, senior lecturer in exercise physiology, said: “Women remain under-represented in graduate-level jobs within sport and exercise and may also feel isolated due to the gendered nature of the male-dominated sporting environment.
“In certain sport and exercise domains, jobs are seen not to be for women. The speakers at our event identified how they needed to prove themselves and be confident, in order to be taken seriously.”
Former Staffordshire University graduates also returned to speak at the event including Claire Farquharson, a physiotherapist and senior lecturer in Sports Therapy at Edge Hill University, and Ellie Beckwith who is a personal trainer and managing director at Bodytech gym in Market Drayton.
Dr Forsyth is an executive member of the UK-based Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network, and is organising a national conference on campus in June 2018, Blood, Sweat and Fears featuring keynote speaker Baroness Sue Campbell, Head of the Women’s Football Association.
Dr Forsyth is also hoping to start a women’s academic network at Staffordshire University to offer encouragement, inspiration and career advice.
Jaydene Thompson, a 200m runner for Stoke Athletics Club who also runs her own weekly fitness classes at The Moat House in Festival Park, said: “Women’s successes in sport aren’t given enough attention. We are in a male-dominated industry and I think these sort of events can only help promote this success. I wish I’d known about it sooner.
“The conference is a little way off but it sounds like a good opportunity to show everyone what women have achieved despite the comments and prejudices we still receive. My classes are full of women ‘who can’, and I won’t hear it said otherwise.”
Dr Forsyth would like to hear from anyone who could speak at the conference and can be contacted on j.[email protected]