Blogs & Opinion


Charlie Webster:

Punching back

Negative attitudes to women in sport cannot persist, says Charlie

Charlie Webster Posted 7th March 2012 view comments

Female presenter, female boxer, female comedian; I would love one day for the 'female' to be eliminated from those descriptions.

How about this? A presenter, a boxer, a comedian - surely we should define a person by their skill, dedication and talent irrespective of their sex?

I was taught to always strive to be the best I could be. My Granddad taught me to always stand up for what I believe in and what I know is right.

'I get asked whether I box, box as opposed to box', says Charlie

'I get asked whether I box, box as opposed to box', says Charlie

I've lost count of the number of times that I've had to apologise for what I enjoy and justify my passions. I love football, sorry about that; I love boxing and am an amateur boxer, sorry for that; I'm a sports presenter who runs marathons, let me just apologise again. Surely I should be shopping or something? (My pet hate, by the way, is shopping!) My Grandma taught me to believe in myself as my confidence and self-esteem was always a problem.

I wish more females were encouraged to get into boxing; the physical benefits are incredible, it helps get rid of stress, improves confidence and gives a sense of self-worth and belief.

Charlie Webster
Quotes of the week

I was on a sports panel last year - the only female out of five people. A member of the audience asked me what it's like working in a 'man's world.' I answered in a hopefully positive and inspiring way.

The host then suggested I should be off making the tea, and then sniggered. I couldn't actually believe he had the audacity. You can imagine what I felt like doing to him. My boxing coach says I have a decent jab! But also can you imagine how that comment made me feel inside? Pretty rubbish, deflated and a like a second-rate citizen.

My favourite question that I get asked is 'do I box, box?' That's not a typo, I get asked whether I box, box as opposed to box. Last time I checked you either box or you don't, whether you're male or female.

I wish more females were encouraged to get into boxing; the physical benefits are incredible, it helps get rid of stress, improves confidence and gives a sense of self-worth and belief.

My mates find it pretty funny; I have a habit of turning up having been training either running or boxing with my rucksack on my back, bottle of water in hand and having had an old-fashioned wash!

Attitudes

The ABAE has just started the Women's Box Series and female boxing will be in the Olympics for the first time ever.

It is a shame that so many attitudes are still so negative towards females and sport though.

Another thing I used to get asked a lot was whether I actually liked football. I got asked this while I was sat at a football game. My first football game was at the age of four, I had a Sheffield United season ticket as a kid, I have my level 2 FA coaching badges, I write a column on football and I was the first live female football presenter in Asia and presented live Premier League football for two years. Now do you see what I mean about having to justify my hobbies, my passion and what I enjoy?

There are so many amazing female role models out there.

These include: my mum who did the Gherkin step challenge with me last week (whom by the way hates shopping too), my Grandma, who is a massive football fan and consistently gives England and Sheffield United a piece of her mind and my nan who has done The 3 Peaks Challenge.

Then there's my boxing coach - one of the few female boxing coaches in the world - Chrissie Wellington; Dame Kelly Holmes who was a huge inspiration to me as a kid; Jane Couch; the three 17-year-old girls from Brixton who I'm training and mentoring as part of a new project I've started called Running for a Life; Paula Radcliffe, Maggie Alphonsi, Jeanette Kwakye, Fran Halsall, Katie Taylor. I could go on and on and on.

The question we have to ask ourselves, though, is why is female sports participation in the UK the worst in Europe apart from Turkey?

Let's keep changing the attitudes to women and sport and give girls a sporting chance to shape their own future, discrimination free.

Find out why Charlie is preparing to make her debut as a stand-up comic to raise funds for Women's Aid - a charity working to end domestic vicolence against women and children.

To find out more about Charlie's challenge just click here .

Charlie is also taking part in a live web-chat right here on skysports.com, together with fellow Sky Sports News presenter Alex Hammond, to promote International Women's Day. To find out how to submit a question click here.

Comments (3)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Alison 1 says...

wow it sounds like you are extremely busy: presenting, boxing, watching football, mentoring, football coaching, marathons etc... well done on achieving so much!

Posted 16:53 8th March 2012

James P says...

Totally agree, good on you!

Posted 16:11 8th March 2012

Stuart Munday says...

Great article, check out another amazing interview about womens participation in sport with Charlie at www.migmag.co.uk

Posted 14:07 8th March 2012

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Speedway Blogs:

Latest Posts in Speedway:

Kelvin Tatum

The contenders

Kelvin Tatum runs through the teams and riders ahead of the 2014 Elite League Speedway season....

Kelvin Tatum

Kelvin's 2013 Review

Kelvin Tatum salutes Poole's hierarchy and Tai Woffinden in his round-up of the speedway season....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Rich re-Ward

Poole, and the dynamic Darcy Ward, will wrap up the Elite League title at Perry Barr, says Kelvin Tatum....

comments

Latest News RSS feeds

King's Lynn close on top spot

King's Lynn closed on league leaders Lakeside after a 52-38 win over Belle Vue Aces at the Norfolk Arena.

British semi-finals draw

The draw for the British championship semi-finals has been made with Tai Woffinden starting his defence at Rye House.

Unhappy Hammers to complain

Lakeside Hammers are set to make an official complaint to the SCB about events following a crash at Leicester.

Pirates edge out Bees

Poole Pirates beat Coventry Bees 49-41 to claim maximum points from their home clash at Wimborne Road.

Bates captures U21 crown

Josh Bates was crowned British U21 champion on a night of high drama and incidents at Monmore Green on Tuesday.

Features

Elite League Speedway: Download a free Sky Sports programme

Elite League Speedway: Download a free Sky Sports programme

Make sure you make the most of your Elite League speedway action with the Sky Sports programme.

Sky Sports and British Speedway, Sky Tickets have an exclusive offer for all live meetings

Sky Sports and British Speedway, Sky Tickets have an exclusive offer for all live meetings

To celebrate the partnership between Sky Sports and British Speedway, Sky Tickets have an exclusive offer.

2014 Elite League season preview

2014 Elite League season preview

Sky Sports brings you an extensive preview of the new Elite League speedway season, which looks set to be the most exciting for years.