Two female football fans celebrating a goal. One has the England flag painted on her face

2022 – The Year Women’s Sport Roared


Stephanie Hilborne

So 2022 is drawing to a close and what a year!  In February we saw women smashing the fear barriers at the Winter Olympics and some really moving scenes of camaraderie.  Our memories of the Summer remain vivid too – the glory of our joyful skilful Lionesses will stay in our hearts for a long time as will the roar of the crowds as Eilish McColgan won the 10,000m Commonwealth Gold.  Spectacular cricket gave way to women’s rugby taking centre stage and wiping out any remaining seeds of doubt as to whether this is a game for women.

There has been other progress in women’s sport which is slightly less visible. Investment continues to grow slowly but surely, and attendance at league football matches is rising fast. During the year, a number of sports have shown leadership in clarifying the rules around participation in their female categories, finding other ways to allow for trans inclusion so that sport remains safe and fair for all.  Guarding the integrity of women’s sport matters at every level from school to the Olympic stage, and protecting girls and women from harm in sport remains a priority for our charity as we called for an independent body to help stamp out abuse.

The success of our elite sportswomen means more girls are dreaming of reaching the top than ever before.
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Women in Sport CEO

The success of our elite sportswomen means more girls are dreaming of reaching the top than ever before.  But most girls’ dreams have not changed one bit.  Still, many fewer girls are active in sport than boys, excluded from its joy by dint of stereotyping and lack of opportunity to take part in girls’ and women’s teams.

Here’s a reminder of Women in Sport’s Impact Report from the last two years. We’re proud of the focus we’ve drawn to gender inequalities during lockdown and to the 1.3m teenage girls who used to love sport but have dropped out. We’ve collaborated with some brilliant partners to create our Big Sister initiative helping teenage girls from less privileged backgrounds get into the gym with the right support.  We’ve produced some great podcasts. We’ve inspired more mothers and teenage daughters to take #TimeTogether and a large number of senior sports leaders to recognise the changes that need to be made.

We are so grateful for your support and for the donations and epic fundraising challenges you’ve undertaken for us.  You don’t have to be the phenomenal Tori Evans rowing across the Atlantic single-handed to help us, many more supporters have set themselves equally meaningful, if slightly less epic, challenges to raise funds. Two girls this year raised money for us around their Bat Mitzvah and a good few others have donated in memory of women who have died who loved sport. We’ve enjoyed support from some big brands this year too, and we’re determined to keep making a difference.

As we approach our 40th birthday we are inspired by knowing that sport can give girls and women resilience, courage, self-belief and a sense of belonging.  We know how much this matters to beat the anxiety that can plague women whether in teenage or during the menopause, and we know how much joy active companionship can bring. We are driven by our belief that it is wrong to deny women and girls access to sport and our determination to crush stereotypes and institutional bias.

We look forward to working with you in 2023.


(Stephanie Hilborne OBE, CEO, Women in Sport)