Research by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) has highlighted the importance of fast-growing initiative, The Women’s Sport Collective. The new network, which aims to support women working in all areas of the sports industry, has exceeded all expectations in its first three months, with over 1,500 members joining the not-for-profit organisation.
Members include women working with NGBs, teams and leagues, along with agencies, brands and charities. Almost a third of the membership are CEOs and Directors. The inclusive network is free to join and provides a range of opportunities for women, at any stage of their career, to connect, learn, share and support each other.
An initial survey to establish more about the membership, undertaken by Sports Marketing Surveys, shows that 85% joined the Women’s Sport Collective to expand their network in sport, with 83% looking to learn from others. The most powerful appeal of a women’s only sport network was being part of a group that can advocate for change (76%), along with the opportunity to learn from other women (76%). Over two-thirds of those questioned said that being able to support the next generation of women was also key to their joining.
The most popular roles in the Collective are sports development and sport for development (19%) followed by marketing and communications (18%) and then sports administration (11%). Other sectors represented include event management, commercial, media & journalism, coaching and sports science, along with several former elite athletes.
Most of those joining are from the UK (88%) but the Collective’s co-founder, Kate Hannon, was pleasantly surprised to discover that members had joined from 36 other countries.
“It’s been wonderful to host online meetings and hear from women working everywhere from Mexico and New Zealand to Switzerland and South Africa. There’s so much we can learn from each other and it’s providing members with the opportunity to build global connections.”
The network has been created by Sue Anstiss MBE and Kate Hannon of Fearless Women Ltd, following a successful pilot this summer with many of the most senior women in British sport. Member benefits currently include informal networking via weekly Zoom calls, fortnightly webinars on professional and personal development topics, a monthly newsletter and access to a private LinkedIn group. A mentoring group is being piloted, with plans to extend this in 2021.
“We’re overwhelmed and delighted by the early response to the group,” says Sue Anstiss, who hosts the award-wining podcast The Game Changers, and is also SMS’ Special Advisor in Women’s Sport. “Women want to hear the stories of others who have progressed in the sector and it’s been fascinating to see how quickly new connections and conversations have started across sport, with sub-groups already being created.
“We’re excited about our plans for 2021, which include the creation of an advisory board, along with new initiatives such as our Male Ally Awards and a range of career showcase webinars. We’ll also be extending our mentoring programme and can’t wait to bring women together in person at networking events, lunches and to watch live sport.”
To understand how SMS can support your business in women’s sport, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the Women’s Sport Collective, or to register to join, please visit www.womenssportcollective.co.uk