In celebration of International Women’s Day, the first female Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UoR, Professor Parveen Yaqoob hosted the ‘Women in Sport: Overcoming and Succeeding’ event on Thursday, March 5th.
The talk- which took place in the Henley Business School of UoR’s Whiteknights Campus- was this year’s edition of the University’s Edith Morley Lecture which takes place annually in memory of the first female professor of UoR and any British University.
The lecture theatre was buzzing with a near full capacity audience awaiting to hear from the inspirational line-up of female panellists. These included Olympic silver medallist Cath Bishop, captain of the University’s netball 1st team Alice Kirkup, and two members of Reading Women’s Football Club, Kelly Chambers and Fara Williams.
The event started with an introduction from Professor Yaqoob who spoke passionately about the history of women in sport and the strides that have been made towards making sport more accessible for women over the world. She also described Edith Morley- who was a professor at the University during 1908- as a pioneer.
Fara opened the panel discussion with what inspired her to pursue a career in sport. All four women interestingly commented that there was a shortage of role models for them to look up to due to the limited coverage of women’s sports. The panel covered issues such as barriers for women in sport where funding and visibility were discussed at length.
Questions from the audience ranged from balancing a sport career with family life, to their encouragement for women who have been put off sport. Additionally, there was one question that sparked a lengthy conversation about equality between men and women’s sports. All panellists expressed that even though steps have been made towards equality, there is still a long way to go before gender equality can be achieved in sport.
This was an insightful and inspirational event that brought women together while helping them to understand the challenges and benefits of being a woman in sport.