International Women's Day

Driving positive change: International Women’s Day and beyond

Richard Baker

16th Mar 2023

The sports and entertainment industry is witnessing an incredible wave of women who are shattering stereotypes, crushing barriers, and charting a course towards a more just and hopeful future.

Last week, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to empowering women and honouring their remarkable achievements across various industries. Yet, like many other industries, this day also serves as a poignant reminder to reflect on the persistent hurdles women still face and recognise that much work remains to be done in creating a truly inclusive industry.

This occasion presented WePlay with the opportunity not only to support in executing some inspiring campaigns for our partners but also to unite and brainstorm internally about how we can drive positive change by empowering and supporting women both within our organisation and the wider industry.

We sat down with WePlay’s Marketing Executive, Gina Sparks, to hear more about her thoughts on International Women’s Day at WePlay.

Can you tell us about one of your favourite International Women’s Day campaigns WePlay worked on?

Absolutely! One of my favorite International Women’s Day campaigns that WePlay worked on was in collaboration with the International Boxing Association. We were gearing up for the Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi and our Creative team produced a stunning design inspired by Indian mythology.

The design was based on the Hindu goddess Shakti, who is known for her commanding presence and embodiment of feminine energy. This was the perfect muse for the project, as Shakti’s symbolism represents female empowerment and creativity.

The final product was a powerful reminder of the extraordinary strength of women, extending beyond the boxing ring and into all facets of life. It was an honour for us to contribute to a project that celebrates women’s resilience and fortitude as we approached the Women’s World Boxing Championships.

Were there any International Women’s Day projects the Media team supported that you liked?

Our partner, TOCA Social, launched an initiative which offered complimentary playtime to all female walk-in visitors. The Media team conducted an awareness campaign on Meta to extend the reach of the initiative and ensure it was targeting the intended audience. The initiative provided a timely opportunity for the Media team to build upon its prior successful repositioning efforts, cementing TOCA’s reputation as an all-inclusive and diverse venue.

As a team, we recently visited TOCA Social, and despite not being a football player myself, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I am confident that this campaign provided a fantastic opportunity for women who may have similar reservations to experience the same level of enjoyment.

Were there any International Women’s Day campaigns WePlay supported with which you found particularly inspiring?

The Creative team also supported the European Club Association to create an empowering video showcasing their female talent and celebrate their achievement in exceeding the industry’s average representation of women in football. ECA leads by example with 45% female employees, which is higher than the average of 30% among their member clubs.

It’s inspiring to work with partners who prioritise diversity, especially in a sector of sport that has traditionally been male-dominated. As someone who has worked closely with and witnessed the evolution of women’s football, both pre and post-Women’s Euro, I commend the European Club Association for their proactive approach to promoting diversity right from the top.


Were there campaigns you saw in the wider industry that stood out to you?

The Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) ‘Correct the Internet’ campaign, which highlights inaccuracies in internet search results while specifically addressing male bias in search engine algorithms.

This initiative from the LTA deserves recognition for its commitment to promoting gender equality in tennis. Despite tennis already being ahead of the curve in this regard, the LTA has identified an issue of persistent male skew in generic search queries about tennis players. This imbalance can contribute to damaging perceptions and stifle the recognition of female athletes. Kudos to the LTA for proactively addressing this issue.

What did you do on International Women’s Day internally at WePlay?

We invited Hannah Sprake from Sporting Insights to be our guest speaker in our latest WePlay Academy session to continue our efforts towards understanding gender equality in our sector. I met Hannah through the Women’s Sport Collective, a collaborative network for women working in the sports industry that I have proudly introduced to other talented women within the WePlay.

Hannah shared insights from her recent research, ‘The Voice of Women Working in Sport’ which highlights common barriers and gender inequalities that women face in the industry and provides proactive steps that employers and male allies can take to support women in our field. As a fast-growing company, we considered this topic to be of utmost importance.

What is WePlay doing to extend this occasion beyond just one day of the year?

We believe in promoting inclusivity and empowering our women to reach their goals. However, we acknowledge the need for greater gender diversity within our organisation and we are on a journey to improving this. Our newly established Women of WePlay (WOW) group provides a safe environment for women to express their views, receive encouragement and generate ideas to share with our male allies. We are also interested in expanding our partnerships in women’s sport, and we understand that our internal culture can have an impact on this effort.

While our industry has made notable strides towards gender equality, there is still much work to be done. We strive to take proactive measures both within our company and throughout the industry, recognising that it’s not just about symbolic gestures on a particular day but about integrating this ethos into our daily operations.

We believe that our support for current and potential partners operating in women’s sport, can create a meaningful and lasting impact. By helping our partners connect with untapped audiences, gain a better understanding of their unique consumer group, and effectively monetise those audiences, WePlay can act as a catalyst in accelerating the ongoing positive shift towards the advancement of women’s sport.

Contact us to find out more about how we can accelerate growth and create a transformative impact.