Former England and Manchester United defender, now Sky Sports expert pundit, Gary Neville, talks of his support for Women’s Sport Week and his first-hand experiences of the difficulties women in sport face.
Women’s Sport Week is a worthy initiative, and one that I am proud to support.
I’ve seen first-hand the difficulties that women can face in sport. My sister Tracey is Head Coach for the England Netball team and in a Netball World Cup year, she’ll have plenty of tough decisions to make this summer.
But making tough decisions isn’t new for Tracey. Throughout her career in sport she’s been faced with hard choices along the way. As we all know, most women’s sport doesn’t enjoy the same investment and support found in men’s sport, and while I don’t think I’ve ever heard Tracey moan about the matter, I know it’s provided her with challenges that didn’t come my way.
Being a professional athlete and now coaching at international level, we both know that the journey has been far more difficult for Tracey. She’s had to juggle sport and education. She’s had to juggle sport and a career. The profile of women’s sport and interest from sponsors and the public hasn’t been always been there.
Playing football was my career but for Tracey, it wasn’t that simple. She’s had to hold a job outside of sport to fund her journey as an elite netballer. Her incredible hard work, dedication and the sacrifices she’s made has got her to where she is today.
I know she’s not alone in her experiences and I also know things are improving. But there’s still more to do.
Women in sport deserve to be celebrated and this week of action will do wonders for raising awareness of the talent and dedication that exists up and down the country.