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Our wonderful panel was made up of Sophie Bury (Chair, FemSoc), Megan Beddoe (Sports Clubs Coordinator, SU), Sophie Harrison (Student Opportunities Manager, SU), Charlotte Serage (Women’s Football President), Susannah Lower (Netball President) and Eedi Karjalainen (Women’s Rugby President).
It was brilliant to see so many people from different clubs and societies coming along to listen and ask questions - such a collaboration between sports clubs and societies has been a real drive amongst our events this year as we hope to encourage empowerment through women supporting other women on campus.
Discussions started with more general topics, tackling a range of different areas including the benefits associated with playing sport. This covered areas such as mental health, socialisation and development of skills for the future. Teamwork and leadership were looked into as well as why the drop off range for engagement in sport is much higher in teenage girls compared to teenage boys.
The panellists provided some engaging and thought-provoking answers, exploring their own experiences as women in sport and touched on further ways we can empower girls to be more active in the future. The media plays a huge role in representation of women in sport, with women’s sport making up only 7% of all sports media coverage in the UK. Discussions followed around the reasons associated with this statistic as well as ways we can all individually improve this.
Sophie Harrison signposted the wonderful #ShowUp campaign, aiming to increase the number of spectators at women’s sports fixtures to show the demand is there. This is something we can all get involved with, through supporting our local women’s teams.
The Panel Discussion continued by specifically looking at women’s sport on our campus and questioning the potential reasons why women do or do not get involved with sport at university. The panellists again provided unique experiences and opinions on the topic, discussing the various ways to further develop engagement with women’s sport at Royal Holloway, while also providing contexts on their own experiences. Eedi Karjalainen provided an amazing example of someone who had not played rugby (or even knew what it entailed) before coming to university.
As she so aptly described, rugby has become a huge part of her life and brought so many new connections and experiences. All the panellists brought inspiration and determination to all the attendees in the room, encouraging greater inter-connections between the sports clubs and bringing a true sense of empowerment to women supporting other women through sport.
We are hoping to continue to run such engaging and empowering events and campaigns throughout the next term, including our widely anticipated #FemaleIsFierce campaign. We would like to thank everyone involved with the panel and those who came along to the event.
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If you are interested in joining sport on campus there are a huge number of ways to get involved, please look at the Sports A-Z section on the Students’ Union website and don’t be afraid to give it a go!
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