Lionesses among New Years Honours recipients


Women in Sport is delighted to see some key figures from women’s sport recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

This year has been an exceptional one for female athletes and teams.  From the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Rugby Union and Rugby League World Cups to the outstanding triumph of the Lionesses in the European Football Championships, all have propelled women’s sport forward. Record attendances and viewing figures have demonstrated that people love to watch great women’s sport. Increased visibility and profile on free-to-air TV and in the press has transformed attitudes across diverse communities. And now girls who already love and play sport are able to dream about reaching the top, knowing they belong.

It’s overdue for society to recognise the innate value of women’s sport and its value to the lives of women and girls, and the New Year’s Honours list is very symbolic.

Notable recipients include:

  • Lionesses captain Leah Williamson, OBE
  • Beth Mead, MBE
  • Lucy Bronze, MBE
  • Ellen White, MBE
  • England manager Sarina Wiegman becomes a CBE on the overseas list
  • Denise Lewis is made a dame. The former Olympic heptathlete champion and Commonwealth Games England President is honoured for her services to sports leadership
  • England’s most-capped netballer Jade Clarke is awarded an MBE
  • Wales football captain Sophie Ingle, OBE
  • Scotland and Arsenal’s Jen Beattie and Kim Little become MBEs
  • Northern Ireland football captain Gail Redmond, MBE
  • Jo Tongue Director, Women in Football, MBE for services to Association Football and to Gender Equality

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of Women in Sport said:

“2022 has given us much to celebrate and it’s wonderful to such incredible sportswomen recognised in the New Year’s Honours List. These are women who have dedicated their lives to achieving excellence and are at the front line in the campaign for women’s sport to be given the credit it deserves. They have made sacrifices they should never have had to make and overcome barriers they should not have faced in the first place as well as all the challenges every sports person faces. Their courage and resilience will help make sure future generations of girls and women will have an easier time and open the doors to sport for many more girls.

These are women who have dedicated their lives to achieving excellence and are at the front line in the campaign for women’s sport to be given the credit it deserves.
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Women in Sport CEO

“Whilst the success of elite women’s sport has allowed more girls to dream, too many girls are continuing to be held back by stubborn and limiting stereotypes. 1.3 million teenage girls in the UK who once loved sport are dropping out each year and 22% fewer girls than boys play team sport. Having more women shine at all levels from athlete to broadcast to leadership can start to redress the balance. We know sport can build resilience, courage and self-belief but too many girls and women are missing out. The joy and sense of freedom that sport can provide is even more important than ever as so many people struggle to make ends meet.

“Congratulations to all the women who have pushed boundaries in 2022. As we move into 2023 we are optimistic about the continued progress of women’s sport but aware of the stubborn stereotyping that is still rife and holding girls back. As a charity we remain resolute in our commitment to make sure no women or girl is excluded from the joy, fulfilment and lifelong benefits of sport.”