Imagine if a female coach had taken over at Manchester United instead of Louis van Gaal.
There would have been shock and amazement across the nation, and cynics would have dismissed her chances of success, whatever her qualifications and background. But why?According to sportscoachUK, in the UK only 36% of qualified coaches are female and this is just not good enough.
If we are to deliver on Seb Coe’s promise to inspire a generation after the success of women at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, and more recently Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, we must recruit, support and retain more females in coaching and leadership roles.
At Leap in Aylesbury, our mission is clear.
We are jointly delivering an initiative called Project 500 to help to create a new platform for women and girls to enjoy and excel in sport as recreational players, coaches, elite athletes and leaders.
Project 500 is a campaign to address the imbalance in the number of male to female coaches, creating a more diverse workforce to drive the growth of female participation in sport.
The aim is to get 500 female coaches recruited, developed and deployed across the seven South East counties between April 2013 and March 2015.
It’s not all bad news nationally, of course. Andy Murray made the news recently when he hired a female coach – and we can see the landscape changing gradually in favour of more opportunities for women in sport.
However, Leap – the new name for the Bucks & MK County Sport and Activity Partnership – is determined to help transform things as soon as possible.
Bucks is officially the most active county for 16+ sport in the country, according to Sport England, so where better to set the national example?
This is not calling for women to be given special advantages; it is more a case of, to coin a sporting phrase, of giving them a level playing field.
Men coach women’s teams, so tell me why then we can’t see a female one day managing Manchester United or Chelsea?
An impossible dream?
Find out more at www.leapwithus.org.uk