Women's Sport Trust launches 'Unlocked' campaign to shape future of women's sport

Team GB female athletes at the BBC Manchester launch of the Unlocked campaign - left to right: Georgina Roberts – Shooting, Marilyn Okoro – Athletics, Rachel Choong - Para Badminton, Siobhan Prior – Basketball, Lucy Adams – skateboard, Stacey Copeland – Boxer, Alice Dearing – Swimming, Alice Powell – Moto racing, Caitlin Beevers - Rugby League, Vanessa Wallace - Para Shot Put

The landscape of women’s sport has completely transformed over the past decade but a leading women’s sport charity is ready to take it to the next level.

The Women’s Sport Trust has launched a campaign called ‘Unlocked’ which will pair 40 of Britain’s most successful and driven female athletes from 24 sports with leading figures from sport, business and the media to shape the future of women’s sport.

Athletes on the programme include England and Manchester City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, Rio 2016 hockey gold medallist Maddie Hinch, Leeds Rhinos and England rugby league player Caitlin Beevers, 2014 rugby World Cup winner Rachael Burford, para-badminton player Rachel Choong, Great Britain’s only black swimmer Alice Dearing and Alice Powell, the youngest driver, male or female, to win a Formula Renault race in the UK.

Together, the athletes recruited will focus on championing diversity and making a difference to propel women’s sport to the next level in the UK.

Tammy Parlour, CEO and co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust, said: “We believe the value of women’s sport needs to be unlocked faster, with more impatience and greater ambition.

“There are still too many closed doors in the sports industry and beyond, which means progress has been uneven and we see peaks and troughs of attention and investment. 

“That needs to change, and we believe this formidable group of women and our network of high-profile supporters can make it happen.”

Each of the forty athletes will be paired to an ‘activator’, who will help them open up their connections and share their experiences, uncovering the most urgent challenges facing women’s sport and developing ways to tackle them.

Boxer Stacey Copeland said: “Most female athletes are not only concerned about their own sporting ambition but about what impact we can have as role-models and on the future of women’s sport. 

“I want to see more women and girls in non-traditional sports like boxing and I have created my own project, ‘Pave the Way’, do to this. I have had success but I believe this campaign will connect me to people who can take it to the next level.”

For more information, follow the Women’s Sport Trust on Twitter - @WomenSportTrust - and visit www.womenssporttrust.com