If you look at young boys kicking a ball around at school, they are thinking of Premier League players and saying ‘’Oh I’d love to be a professional footballer one day’’. There’s probably not too many girls thinking that because they don’t see it as an option for themselves.’’
That quote says it all. Things are continuously growing for women in sport around the globe, but if it can’t be seen, what’s the point?
That’s the viewpoint of Phillip Doyle and Darragh Greene. The pair have recently joined the team of Her Sport Ambassadors. Doyle is a talented rower, competing in the men’s Double Sculls in the upcoming Olympics while Greene will be doing the same in the 100M Breaststroke.
Being a male in sport and advocating for female athletes adds a new voice and perspective. And it’s one that is well-needed, according to Doyle.
‘’Sometimes for women in sport you hear the good or bad all at once. It’s not a constant thing. For example, on International Women’s Day, lots of people will tune out from that because it’s too much all at once.
”There is that narrative of, ‘’oh, there’s the women giving out again’’. Having women in powerful positions means nothing if there’s that male perception of women always giving out. In my opinion, you could be just one voice in that crowd that can turn the odd head. That’s why I am doing this.’’
Doyle continues by saying supporting female athletes is necessary for young girls growing up and needing someone to look up to.
‘’With so many strong female athletes around me, I look up to them. They are amazing. If I have a daughter or niece in the future, I want that option having a female role model there for them.”
Greene is on a similar wavelength, agreeing that encouragement for women in sport is vital to its success.
“Why wouldn’t you support women’s sport? With everything going on, like the 20×20 campaign, things
are moving in the right direction. When I was asked to be a Her Sport ambassador, my instinct was ”yes definitely”.
”I think even when I was growing up, it would be normal to hear of girls dropping out or not continuing in their sport. Or they don’t have someone to aspire to. No wonder it’s hard to keep females in sport, especially up to a high-performance level if they can’t see anyone else do it.”
Exposure and coverage are heard consistently when talking about women’s sport. But for Doyle and Greene, it can’t be just heard. It needs to be supported, developed, highlighted, continued.
‘’If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. If young girls don’t know there’s women out there doing well or having a professional career, they won’t follow or continue in their chosen sport.’’ explains Doyle.
Greene says, ‘’There isn’t enough out there. There are people who would say women’s boxing isn’t good or not as skilful, but just look at Katie Taylor. She’s the best in the world. People should look up to her regardless of male or female.