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“I want to do the best I can on and off the pitch so that young girls coming up will look at me and think ‘Wow, I really want to do that, I feel like s— today but I’ve watched her playing or talking on TV and I actually feel better’.
“There are a lot of girls out there who don’t have self-worth and are looking at Instagram and Twitter for role models and they’re all false perceptions. Look at a real person. Be inspired by a real person.’’
2015 was a fantastic season for Eni as she helped the Lionesses to win bronze at the World Cup and domestically won the double with Chelsea Ladies in the WSL and FA Cup.
In 2014 Eni made history as the first female Player of the Match at an FA Cup at Wembley and also became the first woman to appear as a television pundit on BBC’s Match of the Day.
As a qualified lawyer, Eni has used her legal expertise to help secure better contractual rights for her teammates and led calls on fairer pay for women in football. Throughout her career Eni has spoken out against injustice, including addressing controversial issues such as racism within the men’s game.
“Have I become a feminist? Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then, yes, I suppose I have.”
Sporting role models have the power to influence public opinion, particularly when they are one of the world’s top male tennis players. Andy Murray knows this and has used his profile and influence with the media to actively challenge sexism in sport.
Whilst he is the only top-flight male player to have a female coach, he’s always stressed that his appointment of Amelie Mauresmo was about ability not gender. That said, he was intensely aware of the sexist responses to his decision and the subsequent attacks on Mauresmo’s performance.
In a blog he wrote for “L’Equipe”, he called out this “criticism and prejudice”, reminding people that his ranking had climbed from 11 to 3 under her guidance. He intentionally wanted to counter the “heat” she’d faced simply for being female, highlighting that his previous male coaches hadn’t experienced anything like this.
Always vocal in acknowledging the impact his mother Judy Murray had on his career, Andy Murray publically states “it’s a crying shame that there aren’t more women coaches in sport”.
“If I can inspire people that would make me so proud. A lot of young people look up to the likes of Beyoncé or Paris Hilton, and just want to be skinny and look good. But there are all sorts of people you can look up to in life.
“You know, someone who isn’t quite perfect, in a wheelchair, but playing sports, and is healthy without looking like a stick. I’d hope people might find that a little bit inspiring.”
Jordanne Whiley is the most decorated female British tennis player of all time and the only Britain to have won all four tennis Grand Slam titles in one year. She landed her first singles major at the US Open in September 2015 and has a Paralympic Bronze medal.
She was awarded an MBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Wheelchair Tennis. And she’s still only 23.
Keen to use her profile for good, Jordanne supports many charities and is Patron for the Brittle Bone Society and Whizz kids.
She also speaks openly about the lack of parity in women’s and disability sport compared to men’s: “If Andy Murray wins Wimbledon, he’ll get about £1.5m. If I win, I’ll make about ten thousand”
“My goals were to equalize the prize money for elite men and women, develop an U23 women’s category and filter through all those rules to make essential changes for the good of the sport. I also want to ensure that all professional racers have clear, set pathways to ensure they can carry out their sport at the World Cup level.”
Helen Wyman is an idol to many when it comes to women’s struggle for equality within the racing world.
Pro-cyclist and twice European champion, Helen Wyman has always been at the front of pushing for gender equality in cycling whether taking responsibility in front of the media or politically with Race Organisers, British Cycling and the UCI.
Following her recent appointment to the UCI commission, Wyman had already made a significant impact with more races now paying equal prize money to men and women, greater TV coverage and the introduction of an U23 category in the World Championships.
Helen takes her mentoring responsibilities in Cyclo-Cross and Road Cycling (for Matrix Pro Cycling) very seriously. She also dedicates much time to work with Race Organisers to help promote events such as The Women’s Tour.