Friday, 10th of February, 2017
To kick off the Student’s Union’s campaign ‘Women in Sport’, aiming to tackle gender equality in the sporting world and male dominant industries, I visited the WRU’s women’s rugby squad alongside master’s student Ellyse Hopkins and recent Cardiff Met graduate Amberley Ruck, to gain the player’s perspective on how we can ‘Move the game ahead’.
A humble atmosphere reflected the feelings towards flying to Italy the next day, ahead of the launch of the Six Nations. Representing the squad was captain Carys Phillips (hooker), Siwan Lillicrap (second-row) and Elinor Snowsill (outside half), having previously bumping into Leigh Halfpenny and Alex Cuthbert in the reception area. The questions that we proposed to the women were requested by our very own women’s rugby team, and reflected issues with their scepticism of graduating and starting career’s whilst maintaining participation in their chosen sport.
Snowsill gave us insight into how she had to adapt her business ‘Onest Food’, due to struggles fitting international duties around work. Lillicrap has just been appointed a new position as Head of Rugby at Swansea University, telling us how rewarding it was to be recognised for her achievements being selected over male cohorts to manage both the female and male university teams. Phillips explained how she is currently unemployed after completing her contract as a teaching assistant, taking the time to focus on her captaincy leading the team into the six nations.
Additional questions addressed issues of finding time to recover whilst working full time and being in the elite program, and also their feelings of acknowledging possible early retirements to sustain family and work life. All of which will be elaborated in the ‘Women in Sport: Moving the Game Ahead’ forum, commencing 6:00pm on Thursday 9th March 2017. Unsure whether the appointment of Rowland Phillips or my visit bringing the women good luck, Wales impressively defeated Italy 20-8 in the Stadio Comunale Pacifico Carotti on Saturday 4th. With Cardiff Met alumni Carys Phillips, Sioned Harries, Cerys Hale leading the way. With our very own Educational Studies Lecturer in Welsh medium Dyddgu Hywel, deservingly receiving the ‘woman of the match’ title. A strong start to lead into the game against England this Saturday 11th, kicking off at 11:30am.
This excellent opportunity has highlighted key areas where equality continues to depress women, even in environments where they should be celebrated for being at their strongest. Our ‘Women in Sport’ conference will headline international athletes and team managers who will appear as guest speakers, answering our student’s questions and informing them of strategies to overcome current boundaries. In a world where female athletes such the 2013 Wimbledon singles Champion, Bartoli’s savvy playing style was remarked by a high-profile presenter that it was necessary due to her “Not being a looker”. This initiative is crucial to equip our current and graduating students, with the knowledge that their roles as female athletes extend further than appearance and misogyny.
I hope to see you at the event, please look out for details to reserve your place at the conference where you will be provided with the necessity of free pizza.