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Blog: Using insight to change the sporting landscape

It’s fast approaching my second birthday at Women in Sport. What a rollercoaster ride!

I have been through a re-brand, new strategy, new office and the coming and goings of some brilliant staff, but what stands out above the rest is what seems to be a renewed zest for women’s sport.


 

Having worked in the sport sector for a while now, I always knew there was a drive to close the gender gap in sport. What this means in practice though has been a mystery to many for a long time. But, over the last two years, the momentum behind coming to some sort of solution has simply sky-rocketed.


Obviously I am immersed in women’s sport every day so I may be a little biased, but I’m quite shocked – but clearly pleased – with the developments that have been made in this area. Working for an insight-led organisation, I thought I should just check with friends that they have witnessed this change too. The evidence came back as a resounding yes – smiles all round.

Some of the key developments most people will know about include; the women’s boat race being held on the same day at the men’s, the women’s cricket team receiving centralised contracts, England women winning the Rugby World Cup, role models galore from London 2012 and the Commonwealth Games and not forgetting Sport England’s ground breaking campaign ‘This Girl Can’.



All wonderful stuff, but for me the greatest change has been how the sport industry is now all about insight, insight, insight. Throw back even five years and the word was barely even uttered within the sector (except at Women in Sport, of course!)

There has been a total shift. We are starting to think differently about how we engage with women and girls. Individuals and organisations are now making an effort to understand this audience, find out about their values and motivations and most importantly provide opportunities that fit with their busy lives. This is a far cry from putting on women only sessions because that’s the ‘right thing to do’… thank goodness!


I consider myself to be a lucky person. I get to work with some great, forward-thinking partners on a daily basis, from Sport England, to the FA, to London Sport. Each and every one has adopted an insight-led approach to their work and are starting to reap the benefits. This may not show in the Active People Survey results just yet, but what’s more important is that there has been a change in mindset, a real push to change our culture for the better.


So at the risk of sounding like a broken record to my colleagues… let’s continue along this insight-led journey, use it in everything we do and continue to change the sporting landscape, even if it’s a tiny bit at a time.