Forging a more inclusive world for women in sport. 

International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate all the inspiring women around us and with this year’s theme being ‘inspire inclusion’, we wanted to share the stories of some incredible female athletes in sport, and how they are inspiring inclusion among the females around them and within their sports clubs.

We reached out to some female athletes from Sport Swansea who stood out to us as women who are making a difference to female participation in sport. From starting up new teams within their clubs to ensure the sport is more accessible for females, to women supporting their clubs from the side-lines and ensuring females are aware of the opportunities available to them in male-dominated sports.

We spoke to a handful of female athletes from across sport to see what they are doing to support and inspire inclusion this year.

Name: Ella Smith

Sport: Netball (Club Captain)

How have you encouraged female participation within the sport?

As club captain of Swansea University Netball Club, this year one of my main goals was to increase participation throughout our club. I have introduced a 4th BUCS team to our club this year, with support from Sport Swansea, which enabled an extra squad of females to play sport at BUCS level. We’ve had a record-breaking number of girls join our intramural teams this year, with over 100 members joining us. Working with our intramural reps, I have communicated with other universities to organise friendly matches for the teams to participate in. I've worked diligently to cultivate a culture of female empowerment and participation within our university netball club, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of women in sport. 

What opportunities have been put in place to encourage female participation/ensure females enjoy sport?

International Womens Day provides a spotlight on female athletes, coaches, administrators, and leaders in sports. It celebrates their achievements and showcases their talents, helping to elevate their visibility and recognition on a global scale. By highlighting stories of resilience, determination and success, International Women's Day inspires and empowers women to pursue their athletic dreams. It also sparks conversations and advocacy efforts around gender equality in sports, encouraging discussions about the barriers and biases that women face in sports. It also celebrates the diversity of female athletes from different backgrounds, cultures, and abilities, promoting a more inclusive and representative sporting landscape. 


Name: Freya Webber

Sport: American Football Committee

How have you encouraged female participation within the sport?

I actively recruit women to come and train and try out the sport within the university and ensure that the connections between the women within the sport and different teams are strong.

What impact have you have on females in sport?

I feel that by having a female sideline member, women are more likely to at least try the very male-dominant sport because even if there isn’t a place playing for women, there are still opportunities for them to be involved.

What opportunities have been put in place to encourage female participation/ensure females enjoy sport?

To encourage female participation, we actively promote that the sport is for anyone with all abilities and are labelled as a mixed team. We also continue to build strong ties with Women’s rugby to encourage them to come and try our sport.

What do you think International Women’s Day does for females in sport?

International women’s day highlights to women that they can accomplish anything and that even in sport, they can go as far and further than men, no matter what. It also gives women a chance to highlight their achievements and their participation in male dominated sports.


Name: Isobel Platten

Sport: Football

How have you encouraged female participation within the sport?

I am club secretary, so my job involves having regular meetings with Sport Swansea and ensuring that communication between Sport Swansea and the female football club is maintained. We have meetings to make sure any issues are raised with the team at Sport Swansea, and they know what we want from them. Outside of university, I coach for U9-U11 in holiday camps and have my level 1 coaching badge. 

What impact have you have on females in sport?

Before I went to university, I was coaching regularly for a company with all female coaches called ‘Inspire Girls Football’ and during university, our committee make sure that our voices are heard and that we have measures in place to allow us to play football to the best of our ability. We have just won the league for BUCS with 2 games to go!


Name: Talitha de Wet

Sport: Baseball & Softball

How have you encouraged female participation within the sport?

As softball captain, I was able to set up an all-female taster session, which encouraged a higher number of females in the club than the previous year. Just having female committee members helped some girls realise that the club was not just for males.

What impact have you have on females in sport?

To ensure the females in the club are comfortable, I spend some extra time with them to help them catch up with the other team members skill level in softball & baseball and send out resources to those who are looking to do some additional practice. 

What opportunities have been put in place to encourage female participation/ensure females enjoy sport?

For the baseball & softball team, the following has been put in place:

  • All female taster session
  • More frequent sober socials

What do you think International Women’s Day does for females in sport?

International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to celebrate women's achievements and how far we have come. However, I also think this helps to encourage other women to participate in sport so that they can get involved too.


At Sport Swansea, the three strands of sport (Get ACTIVE, Club Sport and High Performance) are all led by three inspiring females, who year on year, look to provide more opportunities for females to participate in sport.

Shana Thomas, our Get ACTIVE manager, has introduced female-only sessions and activities for students and staff to attend. This has created a safe space for females wishing to part take in activities, and has seen an incredible number of students attend, from surfing session to bouldering. Female participation has increased significantly since the introduction of these new sessions in the Get ACTIVE programme.

Shana said Participating in sport for many females can be daunting and a place of pressure.  Get ACTIVE allows ‘non-sporty’ females to participate in a range of physical activity sessions in a safe, friendly environment which can help build confidence and self-esteem, where they will not be judged on ability or skill.”

Our Club Sport manager, Sadie, has been in the role for 12 years and seen female participation increase year on year with more opportunities available to inspire inclusion. As a sportswoman, playing Hockey for Wales, Sadie is aware of the challenges females can face when looking to participate in sport, and knows the importance of “finding your tribe.”

“We want female students to feel a sense of comradery when they join a sports club, to create life-long friendships whilst participating in a sport they love. We’ve seen students challenging themselves and gaining confidence through the years, creating opportunities to support one another and inspire inclusion within the clubs. We aspire to ensure there are equal opportunities for everyone of all abilities at Sport Swansea and are continuously working on new ways to reach these targets.”

Imelda Phillips leads our high-performance programmes at the university, and as a sporting alumnus of Swansea, it is important to highlight and recognise successful female athletes to encourage students looking to start their sporting journey.

“Highlighting and celebrating female success is key in high performance, and we strive to ensure equal opportunities are available across all of our high-performance programmes for all individuals. We’ve seen incredible success within sport at Swansea University, from female athletes taking to the podium at World Championships, to European Champions, our athletes continue to inspire every day and we continue to strive in supporting our athletes to be the best they can be alongside their studies.”

We are extremely proud of our staff and students in all they are doing to continue inspiring inclusivity within sport at Swansea University and look forward to what new initiatives and opportunities they have planned for the year ahead.

Follow us on social media to see what our athletes have been up to.

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