Women in Sheffield are breaking gender boundaries with sport

7 March 2019

Women across Sheffield have been taking part in sports-related events for This Girl Can week, aiming to empower and celebrate women in sport.

This Girl Can week runs from 2-10 March as part of Women’s History Month, championing female sport to take a step in overcoming gender boundaries and inequalities.

Providing a host of events and sport sessions, This Girl Can – funded by The National Lottery – believes that there is no right way to get active; if it gets your heart rate up, it counts.

Activities range from ‘baby buggy running’ to glow-in-the-dark Zumba sessions.

Sheffield Students’ Union hopes to challenge stereotypes and celebrate women who represent Sheffield through all types of sporting participation.

The Islamic Circle Society believe they are breaking down barriers and stereotypes of women in sport with the launch of its first women’s football team this week. 

Captain of the Islamic Society’s women’s football team, Ambar Shabbir, said: “When I joined the society I noticed that the amount of women’s sports didn’t match the men’s, who had things going on all the time.

“I joined to make a bit of a change to that, and until now the girls have never had a team in the league so it was quite a big deal.”

Miss Shabbir said that the members “turn up to have fun” rather than train: “Some girls find it difficult to get into playing sport, especially with a hijab as it’s not widely seen, but it’s just a matter of giving girls the confidence to do it and feel good about doing it.

She hopes the next officer in the society carries on her work and enters the team again next year, she added.

Miss Shabbir partnered up with the Sheffield University Women’s Sport Officer, Sarah Morse, to help set up the team and encourage more women to get into sport.

Women in Sport and UNESCO 2018 studies found only 40% of women in sport industry face gender discrimination and just 4% of sports media content is dedicated to women’s sport.

Officer Morse said: “Championing gender equality and celebrating women in sport is something we are really passionate about.

“I am particularly excited to host This Girl Can week to celebrate female athletes and encourage more women to get involved in sport.”

A range of events will take place across Sheffield during the week, including social club sport sessions, free women-only sessions at participating gyms, panel discussions and film screenings, all with a focus on encouraging and empowering all women in sport.

Written by Allan Smith

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