Happy International Women’s Day 2023!
The Welsh Sports Association (WSA) would like to wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day 2023!
International Women’s Day is a focal point to celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness about discrimination and take action to drive gender parity.
To mark the occasion, the WSA wants to recognise the celebrated impact and influence that women have had on sport and leisure in Wales, as well as that of recent months.
When we think back over the past year, it’s been a fantastic time for women’s sport in Cymru.
The Welsh Feathers will travel to South Africa this summer having topped European qualification for the 2023 Netball World Cup with a 100% record; Wales’ female footballers rode the wave of football frenzy and carried a nation’s hope and excitement on their shoulders right to the end of their journey to the 2023 World Cup Play-Offs; the Commonwealth Games showcased the best of Welsh sport with female representation and success at the forefront of Team Wales’ exploits in Birmingham.
Of Cymru’s 28 Commonwealth Games medals in August of last year, 17 were won by female athletes, with Olivia Breen (Athletics and Para Athletics), Gemma Frizelle (Rhythmic Gymnastics) and Rosie Eccles (Boxing) all picking up Gold for Wales.
In recent months, the WSA has been privileged to work with Gemma and Rosie as well as their fellow-Team Wales athletes Charlotte Carey (Bronze medal-winner in the Table Tennis Women’s Doubles), Natalie Powell (Silver medallist in the Women’s 78kg-category Judo), and Medi Harris (winner of a bronze medal in the Women’s 100m Backstroke) – all of whom spoke brilliantly at our member event Omicron to Podium back in November.
We also saw former Olympian and Commonwealth Games Gold medal-winning swimmer Georgia Davies – who was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in 2022 – speak at the WSA General Meeting in October, passionately discussing the importance of leisure facilities like swimming pools and the worrying situation they are currently faced with as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
Female sport has shone throughout Wales in recent times, showcasing the power and importance of inclusion across the sport and leisure sector.
While the performance of Cymru’s women is at the forefront of inspiring future generations, there is also of course female representation behind the scenes which holds just as much significance.
The past year has seen Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson appointed as Chair of Sport Wales. A champion of inclusion and diversity, Baroness Grey-Thompson has been a shining light for British sport throughout her career, having competed in five Paralympic games and become a World and Commonwealth champion and a holder of over 35 world records in the process.
The WSA will also recognise International Women’s Day by highlighting the work of our own female Board members.
We’d firstly like to mention the fantastic work of Angharad Collins throughout her years on the WSA Board, before recently departing to her new Wales-wide role with WSA Member, the Welsh Rugby Union.
Since then, Andrea Ovey has recently been elected to the WSA Board, bringing her expertise as Director of Business Development of WSA Member, Newport Live, to the organisation.
A communications and policy expert, Kate Stokes-Davies sits on our board and provides her knowledge and experience to the WSA’s public profile including brand, communications and the advocacy agenda, with vision, mission and values reflected by the WSA team’s work.
Lynn Pamment, Chair of the WSA and Auditor General for Jersey, also brings her wealth of experience to the Board, having held her position for four years and overseen extensive growth and success of the organisation, with former-CEO Victoria Ward, now CEO of Welsh Gymnastics.
And this wide-spread influence and importance extends throughout society – although much still needs to be done.
International Women’s Day exists to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity, emphasising that equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have and that focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA.
As one of the WSA’s strategic goals we will continue to Promote the work of our extensive membership base, working inclusively to achieve a More Equal Wales.
The theme for #IWD2023 is #EmbraceEquity.
Find out how you can get involved and mark the day by visiting the International Women’s Day website.