Rachel Andrew is one of the leading cricketers in an island nation famous for its stunning beaches. She has scored more runs for the women’s national team than anyone else and averages an impressive 11.50 with the ball.
Cricket is her passion, as it is for many women in Vanuatu – an archipelago across the Coral Sea from Australia, whose population of 307,000 is roughly the same as Nottingham. Its women’s T20 team ranks 28th in the world, making it probably the country’s most successful sporting side.
Despite that, traditional values have created barriers that have prevented many of Vanuatu’s ‘mamas’ from playing sport – but the Vanuatu Cricket Association (VCA) is trying to change that.
“I heard some people saying ‘mamas, they belong in the kitchen, clean the house, looking after the kids’, but no – it’s wrong,” said Andrew.
“We’ve got to help each other and promote gender equality. Let them know they have the right to enjoy themselves out there in sports or any activities.” More
Thirty-five leading sportswomen have joined a charity programme to tackle the lack of diversity across sport.
Footballers Nikita Parris and Caroline Weir and five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockcroft are among those who have joined ‘Unlocked’, which has been set up by the Women’s Sport Trust.
The athletes share experiences and work with industry experts to help tackle issues relating to women in sport.
In total, 27 different sports are represented by the group.
“It has been a challenging year for many but as we come out of Covid-19 there is no better time to turbo-charge our effort and continue to unlock the value of women’s sport,” said Tammy Parlour, co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust.
“We believe the best way to do this is by supporting these elite women and connecting them together.
“Individually they are strong advocates for change but together they are unstoppable.” More
We’re celebrating trans and gender non-conforming people by raising awareness and increasing visibility. You can get involved by joining the events and showing your support in practical ways. Find out here
Marked annually on 8 March, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity at home, in the workplace and within wider society.
The theme for 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge. 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.
20 November is Transgender Day of Remembrance and with that in mind we have chosen Annie Wallace as our Diversity Champion of the Month.
Annie is an actor from Aberdeen. A former National Youth Theatre member, she graduated from the Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre in 2004 and has appeared in many theatre productions. As well as being a performer, Annie writes and records music and is a skilled sound recordist and designer.
Annie is a patron of Mermaids a charity supporting trans and gender diverse children, young people and their families. Mermaids started small but has now evolved into one of the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ charities.
On 29 October 2015, Annie made history by becoming the first transgender person to play a regular transgender character in a British soap opera when she debuted as school headteacher, Sally St. Claire in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks.
Since starting in Hollyoaks, she has been regularly listed in the prestigious Rainbow List, Pride Power List, Diva Power List, and the USA OUT100, as one of the country’s most influential LGBT people.
She is a staunch supporter of transgender children, young people and their families. Her advocacy has seen her appear on Celebrity Mastermind, with Mermaids as her charity of choice.
October is Black History Month and also on 16 October it is World Food Day. With that in mind we have chosen Marcus Rashford as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.
Marcus is a professional footballer who plays for Manchester United. He was bought by his mum who often struggled to afford food to provide meals for Marcus and his siblings.
The issue of food poverty for families and children had always therefore been something that Marcus was very keen to help with and he has been working with the charity FareShareUK to raise money to supply meals for 3 million vulnerable people. During the coronavirus lockdown the government insisted that food vouchers for families on free school meals would not be extended outside of term time so he decided to act.
He wrote an open letter to all MPs calling for the decision to be reversed. The letter drew on his own experiences growing up relying of free school meals and food banks. He asked that the government make the U turn to protect the lives of the most vulnerable which was not about politics but about humanity. In June 2020 it was confirmed that he had been successful in his quest and the government changed their mind and extended the scheme through the school holidays.
He has now formed a taskforce with some of the UK’s biggest food brands to continue the work to reduced child food poverty and backed proposals from the National Food Strategy, for an independent review of UK food policy. Marcus is confident that the group could help change lives for the better and is hoping that with a bigger team of experts he will be able to help more children.