We’re celebrating International Women’s Day and supporting its campaign for 2022 to #BreakTheBias, but what does that mean? Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions and at Science in Sport, we are proud to support some incredible female athletes. This International Women’s Day, we want to share the individual experiences of these powerful women and their perspectives on being a female in sport. By understanding the challenges they face and using our platform to share their advice, we can break the bias in our communities, we can break the bias in our workplaces and we can break the bias in sport. Jess Kenyon @kennyyyy_ What makes you feel empowered as a woman in sport? I feel empowered as a woman in sport when I achieve things I never felt were possible: running distances I never thought my legs could take me, lifting weight I never imagined my body could manage. There’s nothing quite like feeling strong in a world that often would prefer you to be weak. I’ve stopped setting limits on myself; there is power in removing your own mental barriers and wondering what you’re actually capable of. How do you overcome adversity as a woman? I have found it hard to feel confident enough to walk into the weights section of a gym for as long as I can remember, but I got a great PT and learned to trust that I deserve to be in that space. Sometimes just having some back-up and someone to be your cheerleader is all you need! With running, the main barrier is feeling safe. Like many women I make sure someone has my location tracked when I’m out, I stick to well-lit areas at night, I do all the “sensible” things. But above all, I get out there anyway and don’t let my gender determine my right and freedom to move. What changes would you like to see for women? I’d like to see all women made to feel unconditionally welcome in fitness spaces, and represented in all sports. Not just women who look a certain way or compete at a certain level; I want all women to be able to reclaim their place in sport. Do you have any advice for women who want to get into sports? Take up space, you belong here! However small you have to start, just make sure that you do. When you start to feel strong and capable and realise your power, there is nothing that can stop you. If you’re struggling, find a community or another individual who you identify with and help each other – there is such power in our collective encouragement. Jessie Tappin @jessietappin What makes you feel empowered as a woman in sport? Standing on the start line representing my country and acting as a role model for all females who inspire greatness in life, has to be the best feeling ever! How do you overcome adversity as a woman? It was tough as a teenage girl wanting to be an athlete throughout my school years. My body developed differently to some of the other girls at the school and I wasn’t seen at the time as “attractive” or “feminine”. As a result, I was bullied about my shape and size by both males and females. When I started thriving in sport, people started to look up to me, idolising me. Just remember, you are never in the wrong for pursuing your dreams! What changes would you like to see within sport for women? I’d like to see more womens sport broadcasted on TV, more women being celebrated for their successes and more women speaking up about their journeys through sport and obstacles in their way. Do you have any advice for women who want to get into sports? Know that we all have bad days, and they are the ones that try and break you but if you can be strong enough they will be the ones that make you! Also wear a descent sports bra! Kelsie Johnson @kelsieolivia94 What makes you feel empowered as a woman in sport? Being surrounded by other like minded women who support and uplift one another to support their goals. I am very lucky to have some amazing friends that support me, some within my sport and some not. How do you overcome adversity as a woman? Sometimes it’s finding the correct way to educate others when faced with adversity. Ask them what they mean or explain how that makes you feel in a given situation. What changes would you like to see for women? Making women feel more comfortable in their own skin. We all come in different shapes and sizes and I believe that should be celebrated. Do you have any advice for women who want to get into sports? Pick something you are likely to enjoy, if you can find a local club/team depending on the sport. Joining a club/team will help you make friends and provide you with some accountability. Paris Wood @ParisSophiaWood17 What make you feel empowered as a woman in sport? Just being involved! Some sports often lead themselves as male dominated, but the only way this can change is the more we get involved. It’s often empowering to be ‘one of a few’ but ultimately, I just want to be surrounded by more like minded females wanting to get stuck in and involved. What changes would you like to see within sport? I think quite a lot of fitness/sport activities can come across as quite daunting. Often coming across like a clique, but all you need is a friendly face and a connection. I don’t think it’s about making it more inclusive because the opportunities are there, but it’s what we are being held back by. Do you have any advice for women who want to get into sport? Honestly, just do it. Starting somewhere is all you need. If you don’t have the kit or knowledge, that’s fine, but make a start somewhere. When I first started cycling, I had no idea what I was doing. I ordered the cheapest, basics online and went from there. You find that kit you ’need’ from seeing others and you gradually build it up along with your knowledge of your chosen sport. If you’re an ‘all the gear, no idea’, that’s also fine. Just start and see where it takes you. You can find out how to get involved in International Women’s Day here. Written By Kimberley Bull - Brand Manager Kim joined the SiS team in 2021 and has a long-standing passion for team sports. She started out as a broadcast assistant and match summariser at the BBC and has gone on to work with brands, teams and organisations to engage audiences in the world of sport. Outside of work, Kim is a supporter of digestive health charity, Guts UK, and will take on the London to Paris Bike Ride in July 2022 to raise funds.