Access Sport Celebrate International Womens Day 2019! We are celebrating International Women’s Day by interviewing Harriet Plows who is making a difference through her role as Women & Girls Development Manager here at Access Sport. Here’s what she had to say… What is your role at Access Sport? My role involves creating new local cycling initiatives for women and girls as a way to get more females active and provide all the physical benefits of being active. These new groups have a focus on boosting confidence in participants and creating new social networks in order to improve overall wellbeing. How does the work that you do support women in sport? My role creates new local cycling initiatives to provide fun, friendly and accessible opportunities for women to get take part in physical activity. By providing activities which cater to women of all fitness levels and abilities, we provide a space for women to take part in sport of would otherwise not had the confidence to do so. What challenges do you think women face to participating in physical activity? There are countless perceptions, expectations and stereotypes that provide challenges to women taking part in physical activity. From a young age, girls are not encouraged into sport in the same way that boys are and, for many, early experiences of P.E (which too often focuses on competitive rather than enjoyable sport) reinforce their own perceptions that sport is only for certain people. Then as women get older, opportunities to participate in physical activity get fewer and, in many cases more inaccessible (gyms/competitive sports teams). Who's work do you admire in relation to equality and women in sport? Eniola Aluko. She is a top class footballer who has won countless trophies during her playing career. She has been a principled and important voice in football, speaking out about racism and sexism, even when it was to personal detriment. She is now a respected voice on both women and men’s football, writing articles for newspapers and appearing on TV, raising the profile for the women’s game in the mainstream media. Who is your female inspiration any why? Jasmin Paris. She won the 268-mile Spine Race, running 268 miles in 83 hours, beating her nearest rival by 15 hours. Her winning the race, regarded as one of the world’s toughest races, (while breast feeding) made news around the world, and is inspiring to women regardless of whether they are runners or not. In doing this she has inspired women everywhere, regardless of whether they are runners or not and has shown just how tough women are. This year the theme for International Women's Day is #BalanceforBetter - a balanced world is a better world. How is the work that you do at Access Sport working towards this? The work Access Sport does is working towards a balanced world by providing opportunities for all women to take part in physical activity regardless of age, ability and fitness levels. The initiatives we create focus on boosting the confidence of women, plus creating new social groups to have a positive impact on health and wellbeing, as well as providing the physical benefits of being active.