International Women's Day 2022
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global date to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women.
Today, 08 March 2022, the world comes together to #BreakTheBias, forge women’s equality and make everlasting change.
This IWD, we interviewed three of our phenomenal female founders and CEOs at House of Sport, to celebrate their success, raise awareness against bias and share their experiences.
Stephanie Hilborne OBE
Women In Sport
Co-Founder and Chief Executive
The Importance of IWD to our Female Leaders
We asked our female leaders what the most important thing about IWD was to them
Stephanie Hilborne OBE: “Reminding the people who may not think about it, that there is a long way to go before we will reach gender equality and it’s important that we work hard to get there.”
Emily Robinson: “It’s an opportunity to celebrate the great achievements of women and a reminder to stay angry that the journey to equality has a long way to go.”
Louise Gale: “There are so many women who have done and achieved incredible things and International Women’s Day provides a platform to highlight these achievements.”
It's a reminder to stay angry, that the journey to equality has a long way to go
Women’s achievements must be recognised and celebrated which is why we asked our female leaders what their greatest career achievement was and why
Winning the battle for legislation for nature’s recovery, finally achieved in the Environment Act 2021
Stephanie Hilborne OBE: “Winning the battle for legislation for nature’s recovery finally achieved in the Environment Act 2021 (a colleague and I started to call for an Act in 2008).”
Emily Robinson: “Probably the creation of the Dry January behaviour change campaign on a shoestring budget. That required lots of pitching to different people, calling in favours, asking for freebies and never being 100% sure if it would work.”
Louise Gale: “My greatest career achievement has been to co-found DMC Sport over 9 years ago. I am also incredibly proud that we have created an environment that fosters creativity and champions diversity within our team.”
We asked our female leaders what has been the most challenging part of their journey to success, and with the benefit of hindsight, what advice would they give their younger self?
Stephanie Hilborne OBE: “The Challenge: Dealing with the people who want you to fail and not being dragged down by them. The Advice: Find the people who can help you stand up for yourself with conviction as soon as you need to, because it gets harder the longer you leave it.”
Emily Robinson: “When life events interfere with my carefully laid plans! It’s worth remembering that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Taking time out if that is what you need can be the right thing to do.”
Louise Gale: “The most challenging part of my journey is work life balance. This is an issue many women face as they try and balance the expectations of work as well as expectations around family life. My advice to my younger self is to be patient and stick to your guns.”
Balancing the expectations of work as well as expectations around family life
We asked our female leaders if they’ve experienced bias during their career and how they responded?
Most importantly men need to avoid being passive bystanders
Stephanie Hilborne OBE
“Where do I start? I would have ideas to resolve conflicts between warring groups, but the wars would go on until a man had the same idea, or a very senior woman conforming to the unspoken protocols.
To break the bias we must all be self-aware about behaviours, work patterns, and expectations that can exclude people or people’s voices. For IWD, this means awareness amongst men in particular needs to grow. Perhaps most importantly they need to avoid being a passive bystander and start to challenge other men about their behaviour when they can see it is having a negative impact on a woman or women.”
“I have experienced sexism in my career.
Generally, I have found that it was more prevalent when I was younger, the idea that as a “pushy young woman” I should have “known my place” or “stayed in my lane”.
Sometimes you need to hold your ground and be prepared to advocate for your ideas and sometimes it’s fine to leave that environment and go to the place you can do your best work.”
Be prepared to advocate for your ideas
Working in sport there is often unconscious bias
“Working in sport there is often unconscious bias that women face.
This has come in many facets throughout my time working in sport and my response is to challenge this, bring attention to any unconscious bias and to start a conversation.”