UK Sport has announced a new leadership programme which aims to double the representation of female coaches in Olympic and Paralympic sport in time for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics in Paris.
The new leadership programme involves six leading coaches: Para-athletics coach Paula Dunn, judo coach Kate Howey, swimming coach Mel Marshall, Para-triathlon coach Bex Milnes, trampolining coach Tracy Whittaker-Smith with former Great Britain Hockey and England Hockey coach Karen Brown acting as a mentor throughout the programme. The coaches will allow other coaches to observe them and learn from them in a high-performance sporting environment whilst also supporting them so that they can develop into successful coaches themselves.
UK Sport will then nominate coaches who they believe have the potential to coach at the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics. UK Sport chief executive Sally Munday said “UK Sport is determined to see greater diversity across the high-performance community and this programme will focus on seeing more women at the top end of high performance. Coaches, alongside athletes, are at the heart of our high-performance community and we firmly believe that a more diverse cohort of highly skilled coaches will help more of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes realise their potential. There are currently far too few female coaches operating at the highest level of performance and we are committed to addressing this reality and, working with our stakeholders, driving the change we want to see.”
Currently only 10% of high-performance coaching roles in the UK are held by women but if the UK Sport initiative is successful then this number would have reached 25% by Paris 2024. UK Sport deputy director of people development Debbie Jenssen said “UK Sport is delighted to be announcing this leadership programme and our first step in addressing what needs to be done to increase the number of female coaches across the talent pathway in our high-performance community. We have some outstanding female coaches already, as demonstrated by those great coaches contributing to the leadership programme, and we can be extremely proud of their achievements, but more needs to be done to increase the number that get to coach at the very highest level. UK Sport is committed to leading the change for female coaches in our high-performance community, and through a collaborative approach with our stakeholders, we believe we can inspire, promote and create the working environments that will allow for more female coaches than ever at Paris 2024 and beyond.”
You can read the UK Sport statement here.