Shona Robison MSP, tennis coach Judy Murray and Commonwealth Games Silver medallist Eilidh Child are among those aiming to inspire the next generation of female sporting stars at an event at the University of Stirling today (Wednesday 8 September).
The first-ever Women in Sport conference is looking at how to empower, equip and enable more female students into sport. It will analyse how women can be empowered through sport, exploring the role of sport as a vehicle for positive body image, identities and relationships. The event also aims to examine women in elite sport and how student sport can actively promote equality and diversity.
The event has been organised by the University of Stirling’s Students' Union in partnership with sportscotland, and is aimed at students, academics, national governing bodies and other stakeholders in university sport.
Eilidh Child said: "I’m delighted to be involved with the first-ever Women in Sport conference at the University. It’s a fantastic time to be involved in sport in the UK and I’m sure the legacy of our hugely successful Olympic and Commonwealth Games will shine bright into the future.
"We’ve seen so many inspirational performances from female athletes in the last few years but it’s not just about winning medals - sport can be hugely empowering for women of all ages and can act as a vehicle for positive body image, diversity and equality which is so important."
Cabinet Secretary for Sport and Equalities Shona Robison, who opened the conference, said: "I firmly believe that sport can be an important avenue to progress change and increase women’s voices and their roles as leaders in our society. Everyone should be able to play sport and keep active irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation or ethnic background.
"It is crucial we drive forward gender equality and equal participation of women and girls in sport at all levels and roles. In particular, the role of women coaches is pivotal in increasing the number of women playing sport.
"Their commitment, energy and dedication cannot be underestimated and I believe that with a strong network of support and encouragement from key partners we can get more women into coaching and in turn inspire more women to take part in and enjoy sport."
Rebecca Gracey, the event organiser at the Stirling Students’ Union, said: "As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, the University is determined to deliver a bright sporting future for Scotland and we believe this conference will help to foster discussion on the way forward for women in sport.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: "The University is delighted to be working in partnership with the Students’ Union to deliver the Women in Sport conference. It is one example of the great work that is being done across the University to advance opportunities for women."
Other speakers include chair of sportscotland Louise Martin CBE, BBC sports journalist Alison Walker, Commonwealth badminton bronze medallist Susan Egelstaff and Wendy Inglis-Humphrey of Scottish business innovation hub Sporting Chance.
Also speaking are the University’s Head of School of Sport Professor Leigh Robinson, and academic researcher John Taylor.
The idea for the conference won the 'Achievement of the Year' at the National Union of Students’ Scotland Women’s Awards in April.
You can see a gallery of images from there day here - Women in Sport conference gallery.