Women in sport - tackling misconceptions

This International Womens' Day, the This Girl Can campaign is celebrating women getting active to overcome the fear of judgement which holds many women back. Cambridge University Ladies' Netball Club tackle the stigma and misconceptions attached to their sport in a recent video, opening with the quote: "Netball is sissy basketball, seemingly designed for dainty flamingos who don't want to break a nail." 

Chloe Merrell, Club Captain for 2017/18, and film maker James Walden - both students here at Jesus College - worked with the team to make the film ahead of last month's Varsity netball match. 

Discussing the thinking behind the video, Chloe said: "This year in the netball club we really wanted to explore what our role was as women in sport, and particularly, women in a sport played uniquely by women. We found that this puts us in both a privileged position in the sense that we can really attest to the culture of women in sport and what it means to be successful as women, but on the other hand, it means that we do not share an enduring male heritage like other sport such as football, hockey and cricket - we cannot rely on the same financial support or recognition.

"This is what we wanted to draw attention to in our video, to hold accountable those who would put women in sport and netball down and to demonstrate that these opinions were absolute nonsense. A couple of the quotes from the video can be found in articles published by national newspapers - this is what we found most shocking when we looked at the reception of our game.

Talking about the filming, James said: "I love playing sport and filmmaking so it was a great opportunity, with the netball Varsity match, to put the two together. It's a very quick sport so keeping pace with everything turned out to be quite challenging. It's one of my favourite pieces of work yet, even though it was my first attempt at filming sport."

Chloe added: "The real challenge for James, which he rose to and with great success, was to capture this attitude in a fast-paced and goosebump-raising video, and we are so pleased with the outcome.

"As to whether we are successful in our endeavour to show the world our game and we what we do, we are currently in dialogue with England Netball about how we can as a University team to help promote the game. Getting equal parity in sport is an ongoing struggle, that it still visible at the highest level, but we as a Club are prepared to contribute whatever we can to the cause."