The British Sailing Team’s Alice Masterman has joined forces with more than 30 British elite female athletes to tackle diversity in sport head on as part of a unique programme created by the Women’s Sport Trust.
Masterman, who is campaigning a 49erFX for Paris 2024 alongside Bella Fellows, has teamed up with a host of sports stars including international footballers Nikita Parris and Caroline Weir, five-time Olympic champion wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft and England rugby league player Jodie Cunningham.
The programme, named ‘Unlocked’, is now in its second year and aims to help athletes accelerate change across the sports industry. Representing 27 different sports and with athletes at different points in their elite careers, the group provides a unique, diverse and powerful insight into the challenges and opportunities that exist in women’s sport, based on those who sit at the heart of it.
“I’m really excited to be part of ‘Unlocked’ by the Women’s Sport Trust,” said Masterman. “It’s a great initiative to tackle the lack of diversity in sport by sharing experiences with athletes from 27 sports. I applied for the programme for a number of reasons. I do a lot of coaching when I’m not sailing and I want to inspire younger sailors, especially girls, to continue sailing despite barriers they may face. The Covid-19 pandemic has especially made that hard and I want to make sure there is no one left behind.
“It’s also a great opportunity to meet like minded athletes from 27 other sports, and learn how other female athletes manage their careers and achieve amazing things. I’m looking forward to learning as much as possible and be able drive change for other female sailors and young people.”
Tammy Parlour MBE, CEO and Co-Founder of The Women’s Sport Trust, added: “It has been a challenging year for many, but as we come out of Covid-19, there is no better time to turbo-charge our effort and continue to unlock the value of women’s sport. We believe the best way to do this is by supporting these elite women and connecting them together. Individually they are strong advocates for change but together they are unstoppable.”
Other athletes in the group include England netballer and Commonwealth gold medallist Kadeen Corbin, England rugby union prop Shaunagh Brown, rowing Paralympic champion Lauren Rowles and Team GB hockey player Sarah Evans.
As part of the Unlocked group the athletes will access experts from across the sport, business and media worlds. The Women’s Sport Trust hold workshops and opportunities to hear from industry insiders, as well as provide athletes with their own ‘activator’. The activators are leaders in their field who will share their connections and experience to help the sportswomen tackle the issues and areas they feel passionate about.
Working with the other athletes in the Unlocked group will create a lasting network and a chance to learn from others who face similar challenges and opportunities. Virtual hangouts with the group and The Women’s Sport Trust team are also a valuable source of support and inspiration.
Last year’s Unlocked programme proved to be a gamechanger in empowering athletes, with four of the group now taking positions on sporting boards including two-time Olympian swimmer Lizzie Simmons who has recently been selected as the new Chair of the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) Athlete’s Commission and GB Paralympian Vanessa Wallace who has joined Sporting Equals as a Trustee.
To celebrate the launch of Unlocked, The Women’s Sport Trust has released a short film featuring a poem by Commonwealth champion boxer Stacey Copeland. Copeland took part in the programme last year and was inspired to write about her experience. The poem, ‘Our Time’ charts the rise of women’s sport and the importance of women coming together to inspire change.