England hockey captain Anita White leading out the England women's hockey team at the 1975 World Cup


In 1984, the year women were first allowed to take part in the Olympic marathon, a group of inspirational advocates for gender equality started a new movement to champion women’s sport in the UK. The Women’s Sport Foundation, now Women in Sport, was formed.

Inspired by Billie Jean King’s U.S. charity, Derek Wyatt, an early male ally, convened a meeting of extraordinary women from across the sports sector, including Dr Anita White OBE, Professor Celia Brackenridge CBE, Sue Campbell, Baroness Campbell of Loughborough DBE, and Professor Margaret Talbot OBE.

These women, all talented sportswomen, shared the belief that sport could transform lives and that girls and women were missing out. Angered by the lack of opportunity for women and girls in sport at every level, and frustrated by the paltry recognition for women’s sporting achievements, they set out on a journey for change.


Our Chair Celia BrackenridgeProfessor Celia Brackenridge OBE (d. 2018): Women in Sport’s first Chair, Celia believed strongly in sport as a tool for achieving wider social change. She was the most capped Great Britain lacrosse player of her time, the first physical education student in the UK to graduate with a first-class degree, and a tireless campaigner for sports equality and child protection for which she won her OBE.



Our Chair Anita WhiteDr Anita White OBE: A subsequent Chair and significant driver of the charity, Anita captained the England Hockey team to World Cup victory in 1975 and established the inaugural International Conference of Women and Sport in 1994. A teacher and academic, Anita was a Director at the Sports Council before playing a leading role in international women’s sport through her foundation.

Listen to Dr Anita White’s interview on Times Radio.


Sue Campbell, Baroness Campbell of Loughborough DBE: An England netballer and GB pentathlete, Sue has also been highly influential in sport. Sue set up and led the National Coaching Foundation before founding and leading the Youth Sport Trust. She chaired UK Sport through its most successful period from 2003-2013 and went on to transform women’s football, ultimately leading to the historic Euros victory for England in 2022.



Our Chair Margaret TalbotProfessor Margaret Talbot OBE (d. 2014): A highly influential academic, author and activist who acted as a champion for women and disability sports. Margaret was a life-long advocate for universal access to physical education, influencing our National Curriculum and becoming President of the International Council for Sport Science and Physical Education.



Derek WyattDerek Wyatt:Inspired by Billie Jean King’s US charity, The Women’s Sport Foundation, Derek Wyatt convened the first meeting of these four powerful women. He played rugby for Bedford, Bath, the University of Oxford, the Barbarians and for England. Derek was MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey between 1997 and 2010 and part of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee between 1997 and 2005.



Our founders combined tireless and fearless campaigning zeal with vision, academic insight, entrepreneurial flair and wisdom and these qualities formed the soul of Women in Sport which has challenged inequality in sport for nearly forty years.

We have drawn attention to the absence of sportswomen in our newspapers, have won commitments to more women in the boardroom, have championed better school sport for girls, and campaigned against abuse. Our leading edge research has provided essential evidence of the need for change and has both inspired and steered many of the improvements that have been made. But we are not there yet.

40 years on and Women in Sport remains resolute in addressing the stubborn gender equalities that still exist as we work towards our vision to ensure that no one is excluded from the joy, fulfilment and lifelong benefits of sport.

Find out more

A group of high school girls playing rugby, two black girls tackling with smiles on their faces

Our Impact

Women in Sport’s vision is that no one is excluded from the joy, fulfilment and lifelong benefits of sport. Yet all too often, women and girls are still missing out.

a group of women playing baseball

Creating change

How we are shaping sport for women and girls across the country, so they can find joy in exercise and activity.