Women's Sport: Women's Sports Trust to 'unlock the future of women's sport' with new campaign

Women’s sport charity, Women’s Sports Trust have today announced a new five-month-long campaign that they believe will ‘unlock the future of women’s sports’.

The campaign, named #UNLOCKED, will include 40 elite female athletes and 40 leading figures from business, sport and media, known as ‘activators’, who will pair up to help shape the future of women’s sport. Each unique partnership will further support and challenge one another as they create an ‘unprecedented critical mass of noise and energy to propel women’s sport to the next level.’ 

CEO and co-founder of Women’s Sports Trust, Tammy Parlour, says, “There are still too many closed doors in the sports industry and beyond, which means progress has been uneven, and we see peaks and troughs of attention and investment. That needs to change, and we believe this formidable group of women and our network of high-profile supporters can make it happen.”

Women’s Sports Trust has recruited athletes from across 24 sports to take part in the new Unlocked campaign, with a focus on those who are championing diversity. The sportswomen include footballers Karen Bardsley, Siobhan Chamberlain, Katie Rood and Claire Rafferty; basketball coach, Asma Elbadawia, who helped overturn the ban on wearing a hijab in sport; Alice Powell, the youngest driver to win a Formula Renault race in the UK; Natasha Jones, the first-ever British female boxer to qualify for the Olympics and Khadija Mellah, the first person in the UK to feature in a competitive horse race while wearing a hijab, amongst many others.

Another athlete taking part in the #UNLOCKED campaign is the first-ever British woman to win a Commonwealth title in boxing, Stacey Copeland.

“Most female athletes are not only concerned about their own sporting ambition but about what impact we can have as role-models and on the future of women’s sport. I want to see more women and girls in non-traditional sports like boxing and I have created my own project ‘Pave the Way’ to do this. I have had success but believe this campaign will connect me to people who can take it to the next level,” the boxer says.

The athletes will work alongside their paired ‘activator’ and focus on how they can create real actions as well as communicating and learning from their wider peer group. The activator will be on hand to offer connections, strategy and identify the urgent challenges facing women’s sport, developing ways in which to tackle them. 

Some of the activators include CCO of the London Legacy Development Corporation and former-CEO of Netball England, Joanna Adams; The FA’s Director of Women’s Football, Dame Sue Campbell; Sports Broadcasters Jacqui Oatley and Jeanette Kwakye, and Head of Commercial Partnerships at F1, Zarah Al-Kudcy.

Joss Hastings is Vice President of Marketing and Communications of Disney Consumer Product in EMEA and will be another activator for the #UNLOCKED campaign. She says, “It’s difficult to think of better role-models than sportswomen, but it doesn’t feel they have yet reached the scale of profile and influence that they deserve. I’m excited to hear direct from the athletes about the barriers they face and the opportunities they would really value so we can work together to help drive change.”

The athletes will also be provided with coaching that will look at everything from commercial insights to social media skills, to ensure they’re the most effective ambassadors for the campaign. Over the next five months, the activator and athlete pairs will be looking to create real, tangible developments that can only benefit the world of women’s sport, as well as challenging the public to take part.

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