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Can we break down barriers in sport? Lively panel debates issues at LSBU

A diverse panel of five women who are involved in sport took part in the 'Breaking down barriers in Sport' guest lecture and panel debate to a packed room at LSBU
06 March 2018

The evening kicked off with Dr Leeja Carter, a Fulbright Scholar and feminist sports psychology expert from New York, presenting her lecture Never Settle, about her experiences working with black and ethnic minority women in the United States. Dr Carter focused on sexism in sport and how women can continue to break down barriers in sports and achieve results, despite the odds.

Dr Carter is Assistant Professor in the Division of Athletic Training, Health and Exercise Science (ATHES) and the Director of the Center for Performance Excellence in Applied Kinesiology (PEAK) at Long Island University.

Members of the audience were quick to join the lively debate, asking relevant questions about how women can break into sport, the gender pay gap in sports and the barriers panel members had faced in sport. The panellists spoke about their personal experiences and linked these to women participating in sports, whether in rugby, boxing, football or by hiring a personal trainer to help them.

At 74 years of age, the oldest panellist, Eddie Brocklesby talked about her experiences as Director of Silverfit – the charity that helps older people promote healthier ageing through physical activity. Eddie mentioned that making physical activities more sociable and fun for older people is often the best way for them to stay fit and healthy.

Eddie Brocklesby said: “The debate about the ageing and often inactive population in the UK continues and is part of breaking down those barriers in exercise. It’s great to be a part of this vital discussion – encouraging people not to give up but to keep participating in physical activities that appeal to them and contribute to their overall fitness.”

Other panellists taking part in the debate included Laura Kapo – Richmond Ladies RFC Chair, Rebecca Donnelly – CEO of Fight 4 Change and former world Thai boxing champion and later, English national boxing champion, Danielle Linton – health and fitness professional, and Niamh Digby-Bratton from the Academy of Sports at LSBU.

Applauding the event, Niamh Digby-Bratton said: “It was an honour to sit on the panel with some inspirational ladies, who are clearly trail blazers for future generations of women to continue to look for equality across all sectors. I hope both women and men in the audience were inspired by the debate, as we continue to strive for a level playing field for everyone.”

With International Women’s Day on 8 March, the timely lecture followed by the panel discussion proved inspirational and provided everyone with plenty of food for thought.