International Women's Day 2021: Sporting Equals Activator East London - Janine Palm Interview

The 8th March is the day that we as a global community celebrate and recognise the continued journey for equality that varies for every woman across the globe through International Women's Day. As such we at Sporting Equals wanted to reflect on this year's International Women's Day theme of 'Choose to Challenge' #ChooseToChallenge.

To capture what this concept of choosing to challenge means to us in sport, we decided to speak to our East London Activator - Janine Palm. Janine highlighted why this year we should choose to challenge the status quo of engagement in sport for women of diverse ethnic communities by reflecting on her own experiences as a sports enthusiast and participant.

"Hello, my name is Janine Palm I'm 38 years old born and raised in East London, my role at Sporting Equals is East London activator.

At secondary school I had a keen interest in track and football, but my main passion was dance, since 2019 I am a proud member of the AFCA Movements a dance group based in North London we specialise in African traditional dance with a Caribbean accent.

My sporting female role model is Merlene Ottey, the incredible Jamaica born sprinter, I always appreciated her flair and determination. Also, Tessa Sanderson CBE who is a British former javelin thrower. Tessa is a phenomenal role model, her contributions continue to be an inspiration to British Black athletes and athletes from diverse backgrounds. Both these women opened doors for many women of diverse ethnic communities within sport.

My core role at Sporting Equals is as the East London activator working on the London Marathon Charitable Trust project supporting two faith centres in the Barking and Dagenham area.

The core goal being to inspire and engage inactive communities to motivate them to become involved in sport and physical activity.

Because dance has been a main passion in my life for over 35 years as a female, I see it as a form of expression allowing your body and soul to be in the moment, it's all about being free.

Traditionally, in my experience, women from diverse ethnic backgrounds tend to be inactive because of social and economic issues.

In the last five years with the help of social media more women from diverse ethnic communities have taken it upon themselves to pursue free online fitness sessions and engage in the benefits of fitness.

The benefit for sport and fitness for me is keeping fit and staying motivated which has a ripple effect on my mental wellbeing.

The theme for international Women's Day is 'choose to challenge' and I would like to leave you all to reflect on what more can be done to increase participation? What more can we do and choose to challenge the inactivity levels of women from diverse ethnic communities?

My ideas on this include focusing on the opportunities available to women from diverse ethnic communities within sport and challenge current practices to derive best practice.

Reviewing the current resources, tools and engagement awarded to these diverse ethnic communities is also key in choosing to challenge the status quo of engagement in sport for women of diverse ethnic communities.

I just want women to know their greatness and know that anything is possible. We must break down barriers and challenge the social norms so we can be treated equally. To be given the rights like men within work sport, work, education, and health."

As highlighted by the creators of Interational Women's Day themselves:

"A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world."

From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.