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International Women's Day - Choose to Challenge the Norm

This year’s campaign theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Choose To Challenge’. Change can only come from a world where people challenge societal attitudes and the inequality between genders. Sport can be an extremely powerful platform to highlight these inequalities and start to dismantle them. ORIGIN Sports Group supports this campaign and recognises the value in choosing to challenge.

2020 was meant to be the year for women’s sport. Yet, elite women’s sport was condemned to a year of silence with many worrying that the coronavirus pandemic will un-do some of the significant progress towards gender equality that was achieved in the last few years…but this does NOT have to be the case.

We #ChooseToChallenge by looking back at just a few of the recent major achievements in women’s sport, which only amplify the notion that women in sport refuse to see progress retreat and instead look ahead to the big changes that are still to come.

There has been massive progress made towards creating an equal platform for women in sport, with increased media attention, lucrative sponsorships and increased mainstream television coverage.

The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final saw 86,174 spectators flock to the Melbourne Cricket ground to see hosts Australia beat India. The event made history by breaking the world record for the highest ever attendance for a standalone women’s sporting event worldwide.

Major brands have started to pay attention to women’s sport and have realised its untapped potential. In 2018, Visa signed a landmark partnership with UEFA that saw the financial services company become the first ever UEFA sponsor dedicated to women’s football. Additionally, Vitality and England & Great Britain Women’s Hockey recently announced one of the most significant partnerships in the sports history.

Broadcasters are also now realising the ever-growing demand and interest in women’s sport. In the UK, 30% of coverage on the BBC is women’s sports, with the broadcaster airing the FA Cup Final, Fifa World Cup, Netball World Cup and Women’s Ashes.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) increased the prize money pool for the 2020 World Cup by 320% on the 2018 tournament and Cricket Australia also added to prize money won by the Australian women’s cricket team to ensure equality with the men’s winnings.

Let’s all #ChooseToChallenge, call out gender bias and inequality, and continue to celebrate women’s achievements. We should be drawing attention to and talking about the major events, such as women’s football Euros and the women’s cricket World Cup, which will be back in 2022 assured to be bigger and better than ever.

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