Sophie Power, ultra-runner, and Mark Chapman, sports presenter, have joined the Board of Trustees at Women in Sport, the UK’s leading gender equality charity. At a time when the nation will be finding it difficult to keep active and women’s sport across the UK is cancelled, Women in Sport’s newest trustees will be ensuring both momentum and visibility of the challenges and barriers that exclude women and girls from participating continues.
British ultra-runner Sophie Power became a household name last year, after a photo of her breastfeeding her 3-month-old baby at an aid station of the 106-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc went viral. Power, who started running in 2009, finished the UTMB in just under 44 hours, and has also run several of the world’s most famous ultra-races including the Marathon des Sables across the Sahara and the 153-mile, non-stop Spartathlon in Greece. With a career in finance and as a tech entrepreneur, as well as being mother to two boys, Sophie is hugely passionate about ensuring women are able to set aside time for their own fitness and mental health.
“I’m excited and honoured to be joining Women in Sport,” says Sophie Power. “Sport has such huge benefits not for not only our physical but also our mental health. More than ever now we need to increase the support and opportunity for women to participate in sport – at every level, in every form and at every time of their lives.”
Mark Chapman is well-known as one of the country’s leading sports presenters, after coming to prominence working on BBC Radio 1 with Sara Cox and Scott Mills. He joined Radio 5Live to host 5Live Sport in 2010 and now also presents Match of the Day 2 on BBC Sport and the BBC NFL show. With 15 years’ experience working in sports media, a son and two daughters, Chapman is a keen advocate of equal opportunities across the board for both men and women to participate and work within sport.
“I have watched and indeed am still watching my three children go through the grass roots youth sporting system,” says Mark Chapman. “Two things have struck me. The first is that I have witnessed mixed football and cricket teams for at least a decade, and this quite rightly is seen as the norm for that generation. The second is that whilst progress has been made, there are still plenty more sporting opportunities for my son than for my daughters. I hope that by joining the board of Women in Sport I can harness the positivity of today’s kids while helping to break down the barriers that still exist.”
Chapman and Power join the Women in Sport board following the recent additions of Rupen Shah (Football Foundation) and Nick Rusling (Human Race) at the end of 2019. This brings the total number of trustees for the charity to nine, including four male trustees.
Chair of Trustees, Jayne Haines says “Society as a whole must change if we are to achieve our aim of women and girls participating and leading sport on an equal footing with men. As we build the Women in Sport Board, we have been looking to recruit men as well as women, and have been focusing on diversifying the backgrounds of our trustees to bring different experiences and skills to the table.”
“Mark Chapman, with his much-loved place in the footballing landscape, will be a real asset to the Board and bring more male allies into the conversation. Sophie Power is an amazing role model for showcasing the strength of women as well as the barriers to sport and exercise that we still face. Gender stereotypes mean that women often feel they should put everyone else’s needs before their own. Now with the added pressure on families caused by COVID-19, it is vital that women find time for their own physical and mental health.”
“We’re delighted to have Mark Chapman and Sophie Power on board at Women in Sport and look forward to working with them going forward to drive change for all women and girls.”