News story

Government and leading sports charity host national conference on Women’s Sport

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Sports Minister Helen Grant calls on businesses, the media and sports governing bodies to help improve the gender balance in sport

Sports Minister Helen Grant and Women in Sport, formerly the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, will today welcome over 300 leading names from sport, politics and the media at a new national conference to create a shared vision for women’s sport.

The brainchild of Helen Grant Transforming Sport: The Women’s Sport Conference will celebrate the progress made on women’s sport in the last year while exploring what more can be done to keep up the momentum and address remaining challenges still facing women and girls in sport across the UK.

The event at Lord’s is sponsored by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the EY Women Athletes Business Network. It features an array of high profile speakers from the world of sport, who will join host BBC presenter and commentator Jacqui Oatley on stage.

As well as Helen Grant and Women in Sport chief executive Ruth Holdaway, speakers include British Fed Cup Team Captain Judy Murray, 2013 Wimbledon Singles Champion Marion Bartoli, BBC Director of Sport Barbara Slater, England Rugby 2015 Chief Executive Debbie Jevans, Sport England chief executive Jennie Price, UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl and RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.

Today the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Women and Sport Advisory Board has also published its interim report, giving a snapshot on the progress made on women’s sport since its inception in September 2013 in the five areas that government are keen to make progress on.

These are: increasing women’s participation in sport, improving the media profile of women’s sport, increasing commercial investment in women’s sport, improving women’s representation in sports leadership positions and the workforce, encouraging greater recognition for women’s sporting achievements.

Sports Minister Helen Grant said:

We have made good progress in 12 months raising the profile of women’s sport, helped by some amazing performances by our top female athletes. Media coverage is on the rise and businesses are coming on board with sponsorship deals and more women are taking up leadership positions in sport.

But there is still more to do on all these fronts to continue to improve the gender balance in sport. This conference will explore ways in which we can do that, with a fantastic line-up of speakers to help shape the future of women’s sport.

Ruth Holdaway, Chief Executive of Women in Sport, said:

Today marks an exciting moment in the future of women’s sport as decision makers from across sport, politics, media and business come together to address a situation which sees women under-represented on the field of play, in sport’s Boardrooms, in sport media coverage and in commercial investment in sport.

2014 has been an incredible year for women’s sport and now is the time to capture this momentum. Under our new guise of Women in Sport, we will work in partnership with cross-sector stakeholders to help transform sport for the benefit of every woman and girl in the UK, and we invite all supporters of women’s sport and the sector as a whole to join us in this journey.

Clare Connor, ECB Head of England Women’s Cricket, said:

I’m delighted that the ECB is partnering with DCMS and Women in Sport to support the delivery of this important event for women’s sport.

The ECB is committed to ensuring that women’s cricket continues to thrive both on and off the field. We have had an exciting year: from celebrating the one millionth girl going through the Chance to Shine coaching programme in state schools, to announcing professional contracts for the England women’s team.

I am looking forward to sharing our experiences and listening to ideas from delegates as to how we can collectively make a difference in continuing the transformation of women’s sport in respect of participation, commercial viability and leadership.

Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair – Public Policy, EY, said:

We are proud to be sponsoring the Women’s Sport Conference. Our Women Athletes Business Network seeks to harness the leadership potential of female athletes after retirement from sport. It is a privilege to take part in events that champion the achievements and highlight the challenges still facing women and girls in sport. It’s so important that we continue to inspire the next generation by showing the positive impact that sport can have on a woman’s career success.