Equal footing

According to research carried out by Sport Wales, there is still a huge gender gap in sport participation in the UK. North Wales wants to change that…

Around two million fewer 14-40 year-old women than men engage regularly in a sport or activity. That’s despite the fact that 75% of women and girls saying that they want to be more active.

Confidence is often cited as the main barrier to taking part. So, with the aim of increasing confidence in local women, inland surf hub Surf Snowdonia has partnered with business group Network She in order to deliver a conference which will examine, and celebrate, the role of women in sport.

Part of Surf Snowdonia’s month-long female-focussed Girls on Board initiative, the Women in Sport Conference will take place on Thursday 21st June at Surf Snowdonia. It will feature lively panel discussions, as well as engaging debates, and is a free-to-attend event that is open to everyone.

“Network She is passionate about supporting women and girls in sport, and we are thrilled to be bringing this inaugural conference to Surf Snowdonia,” commented Ruth Lloyd-Williams, founder and director of Network She. “We’re delighted to have been able to put together a day packed full of inspiring guests and speakers, and we’ll be looking at how we can come together as a region to challenge stereotypes and increase female engagement in sport.”

The ultimate aim of the conference is to introduce the extensive range of sports and activities that are accessible and available in the region and, ultimately, to encourage participation. Attendees will get to meet those women who have got off the couch and given it a go, overcome adversity or haven’t let their disability stop them from being the best they can be.

“The Women in Sport North Wales Conference 2018 is another example of the support network developed by Network She to empower participation in sport for women and young girls, irrelevant of age and ability,” continued Ruth. “We want the event to be inclusive and open to everyone, we don’t want there to be any barrier stopping people from joining – and therefore the event is free to attend.”

And, if that wasn’t enough to wet your whistle, there will also be an opportunity to have a surfing taster session once the conference has drawn to a close. So, who’s on board?

There are some truly inspirational women speaking at the Women in Sport Conference later this month. Here are just some of the female sports personalities that will be taking part:

Jo Dennison 

Jo Dennison is water operations manager at Surf Snowdonia. She is also six times – and current! – Welsh Surf Champion. Jo has surfed three times as part of the British team at the ISA World Surfing Games and is also a veteran of the World Qualifying Series. She is a team rider for surf brands O’Neill and FCS, and has extensive teaching experience, including work in Europe and North Africa, as well as in Australia, where she worked on the highly-regarded Surf Grom junior development programme. She also instructed the British Junior Team at the 2012 ISA World Surfing Games in Panama.


Jade Paveley 

By day Jade is part of the sales team at North Wales Honda – in her spare time she can be found racing the country’s most notorious rally circuits. Jade rallys a 4WD Turbo charged Subaru and is currently competing in the Welsh Tarmac Championship where she is third overall and leading her classes. While she loves speed and competing (and winning!) she also wants to inspire more women to get into motorsport.


Rachel Taylor 

Flanker Rachel Taylor has been synonymous with Wales Women’s rugby over the past ten seasons. Since her first cap in 2007 she has featured in every single Six Nations competition over the last ten years captaining Wales at five of them. Rachel also played for the Wales 7’s rugby team and became captain of the sevens side for three years. She has played in three World Cups, and is the only player in Wales who has played for every regional side and Captained both sevens and 15s’ International sides, and most recently become a Barbarian in the first ever Barbarians Womens side. She has worked tirelessly to support and grow womens rugby in North Wales and describes the RGC Womens entry into this year’s Regional championship as a career high.


Debra Barklin 

Debra is the North Wales Project Development Officer for charity Sported. Sported is one of the UK’s leading Sport for Development charities and it helps the local heroes of community sport to build thriving and sustainable clubs and groups, so that the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach young people in our society have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.


What: Women in Sport North Wales Conference 2018 

Where: Surf Snowdonia, Dolgarrog

When: Thursday 21st June, 10am – 4pm

How: To book a place at the conference, attendees will need to register via the ‘Women In Sport North Wales Conference’ link.


Girls on Board

Surf Snowdonia has launched a Girls on Board initiative which will feature a 30-day programme of female-focused events, activities, workshops and discounts – all designed to get more women and girls engaged in a sport or activity they love. It launches with a free-to-attend sports showcase on Saturday 2nd June. Visit www.surfsnowdonia.com for further information


Conwy Sports Awards

The Conwy Sports Awards 2018 are designed to recognise and honour the talented sports people, clubs, coaches and volunteers throughout Conwy. There are 11 categories in total – including Junior Sports Woman of the Year and Senior Sports Woman of the Year. The closing date for entries is Friday 21st September so, if you know of a local female athlete that deserves some recognition, get entering. Visit www.conwy.gov.uk for further information.

As originally printed in North Wales Magazine 
North Wales Magazine was founded by Kate Hamilton, an editor with 20 years’ experience. In 2011 she moved from London to Rhos-on-Sea with her husband, as they felt that North Wales was the ideal corner of the world in which to raise their family. Six years on, and Kate thought it was time to celebrate everything that the region had to offer with the launch of a luxury magazine.
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