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International Women's Day with UKA - Kate Rooney

Category: Women, testimonial, Women in athletics, UK Athletics, Women in Sport, inspirational women, International Women’s Day, Staff Testimonial, Athletics, British Athletics, UKA, Opportunities for women, Women in sports, International Women’s Day 2022, Celebrating Women

Gender Focus

On the 8th March, it was International Women’s Day, and to celebrate, our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion advocates at UKA have spoken to several stakeholders in the sport about this year’s theme, #BreakTheBias.

The theme for this year is encouraging people to think about what they can do to do create a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. Where difference is valued and celebrated to forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. More information can be found here.

From Tuesday, we have been showcasing stories from across the sport. Today we hear from 2008 Olympian and pole vault coach, Kate Rooney.

Role(s) / involvement in athletes (now and in the past)

I was previously a GB pole vaulter & Olympian and am now Pole vault coach for Loughborough University, BA YTP and England athletics regional jumps lead – Midlands.

Have you experienced bias during your time in the sport?

Maybe not getting as much exposure as track event athletes and then therefore lower endorsements. When I first started coaching there didn’t seem to be too many career opportunities for women, more volunteer roles.

How have you dealt with this / how to you ‘Break the Bias’?

Mainly staying true to myself and keeping my head in the game for what I wanted to achieve. I didn’t set out to make money, I sent out to be as good as I could be. I continued to volunteer in athletics while having children and stayed in touch with the sport I loved.

Which female(s) inspire you?

Christine Ohuruogu – as she did not crave the limelight and got on with the job at hand.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I am grateful for everything women have strived for, I now work in a job in sport in pole vault, which I would not have thought possible when I was an athlete. I do believe women were overlooked in the past for coaching roles, and like all jobs in sport it is about finding the balance between work and family life and I believe as a mum I can do both. My kids are now old enough to come and watch athletics (which I love) while I coach and having a husband in sport who also encourages me to have a good balance. They did not see me compete like their dad, but they are now loving watching me help athletes achieve their potential and it is great for them to see both sides of being an athlete and a coach.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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