Women in Sport has appointed Julia Newton as its new Chair of its Board of Trustees. A highly experienced executive and non-executive leader, Julia is currently chair of GB Taekwondo, where she has been a champion of female athletes and she will continue her role there alongside her position at Women in Sport until the end of her term.
The appointment comes at a pivotal time for Women in Sport as it prepares to mark its 40th birthday in 2024. With a proud history of securing change for women and girls, Women in Sport is the most long-standing charity in its field. It recognises that gender stereotypes and institutional bias are holding women and girls back in sport and in life. The charity researches, campaigns, influences and works in partnership in pursuit of its vision that no woman or girl is excluded from the joy fulfilment and lifelong benefits of sport.
Julia said: “As someone who has always championed the cause of women’s empowerment and strongly believes in the life-changing potential of sport, Women in Sport’s remarkable work has long been an inspiration for me. Being offered the opportunity to work with this hugely respected and trailblazing charity is genuinely one of the most exciting moments of my career. I am honoured to be chosen to help lead Women in Sport as it continues its ground-breaking research, considered thought leadership and powerful collaborations.
There has been a significant step change in the way women’s sport is viewed in the UK and it’s fantastic to see sold out stadiums and arenas but there is still a lot to do to ensure women and girls have both equality and equity at every life stage. As a team we must sustain and capitalise on this speed of change and ensure greater access and opportunities for current and future generations so that every single female can enjoy the very real benefits and joy that sport can bring to our lives.”
Julia started her career at Nike in the U.S before co-founding sports marketing agency, Shine Communications. Over 15 years she helped grow Shine from a team of two to more than eighty, and worked with global sports brands including: Dunlop, Slazenger, Puma, and Reebok. Julia also set up the charity, the Rural Refugee Network, which has worked both regionally and nationally to resettle refugees from Syria and other war-torn regions in rural parts of the UK.
Susan Young, Acting Chair, said “We had an outstanding set of applicants for this role and were spoilt for choice, but Julia is exceptional in what she brings in terms of her experience leading commercial, charitable and sports organisations. We are delighted she has accepted the position and excited to be working with her to build the Board further to maximise the experience, diversity of thought and passion it can bring towards transforming the lives of women and girls through sport. Julia will be pivotal as we go forward as a charity and continue to influence at the highest levels and advocate for change.”
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, CEO of Women in Sport said: “As we prepare to hit our 40-year milestone we are thrilled to have Julia take on the role as chair of the Board of Trustees and I am looking forward to working closely with her and the Board to continue our excellent work. The increased exposure from recent sporting successes provides a platform to expose stubborn gender inequalities that still exist in sport and society. We must continue to support the sports sector as it works to increase opportunities for women and girls to participate in, and lead in sport. We are determined to stamp out wider misogyny and gender bias right from the playground at school to the pitch at Wembley.”
Over recent years the charity has led the field in exposing the deep-rooted barriers and stereotyping preventing women and girls from participating in sport, created change for teenage girls through its innovative Big Sister project and challenged the system to better serve women in midlife.