This morning, the Independent posted an article featuring the results of a poll to nominate the first “annual power list” of the fifty most influential women in British sport. It’s an impressive list, featuring women who have worked hard to increase recognition of women in sport, such as the fabulous Anna Kessel, athletes such as the “poster girl” of the Olympics Jessica Ennis-Hill and those who job it is to fight for equality such as the BBC’s Shelley Alexander and Ruth Holdaway, CEO, Women in Sport. It’s been a good year for women in a sporting context. Women are becoming more visible thanks to major events such as a very successful Women’s World Cup that impressed with record audiences both at the events and on our television screens. There has been some increased coverage in other televised sports too, flickers of hope that can be translated into evidence of some suggestions of progress. However, let’s not get too carried away, we haven’t witnessed a revolution, just small steps, but steps that are hopefully taking us in the right direction as we strive towards equality. But back to the list. The list of the 50 most influential women in British Sport. Whilst it is great to see the likes of Scots Judy Murray and Suzie Wolff receiving recognition, there are startling omissions in this list. Where are the powerful women of Scotland, the women who have been working over decades to influence, and invoke positive change? Founders of Glasgow City FC, Laura Montgomery and Carol Anne Stewart, a duo who were so fed up with sexism and closed opportunities in football that they established their own club and led it to the Champions League and domestic supremacy. It is now a institution that is revered on the European stage and that’s no mean feat. There’s no mention of Leeann Dempster, the CEO of Hibernian FC, a huge voice in both men’s football and the women’s game from her position on the SWF Board, an organisation working hard to promote positive change in attitudes and support, financially, physically and commercially for the domestic game in Scotland. Where’s Louise Martin, a phenomenal figure of authority and the Chair at Sport Scotland. She’s got to be a trailblazer, no? And what about Sheila Begbie, currently working hard to revolutionise women’s rugby having spent 30 years in women’s football doing exactly that. And let’s not forget Scottish women’s national football coach Anna Signeul who is on the verge of taking her side to a major tournament. We should also remember Maureen McGonigle, founder of Scottish Women in Sport, someone who works tirelessly for recognition and equality for women in the sporting environment. I could go on and on, writing about female journalists, writers, athletes, supporters, promoters, campaigners. Our list of influential women in Scotland is admirable and enviable. But we need to shout about them. I’m really astonished that the incredible women of influence haven’t received the recognition they deserve and in that context I’d like to make sure that the hard work in Scotland is recognised. Therefore, I’d like to conduct a poll to find the 50 most influential women in Scottish Sport. To do that I need your help. Who should be on the list and who should judge the nominees? Let’s do this Scotland, let’s give credit to the Scottish trailblazers who deserve our thanks and our support. Please note, I don’t wish to denigrate in any way the wonderful commitment and success of the amazing women on The Independent’s list, they all deserve plaudits. I just want to honour those around me who are fabulous; women whose continual drive, prolific support and lasting commitment and determination have helped give women in sport an all important voice. They deserve to hear your voice too. What next? Let me know who you think should be nominated and we’ll get this moving. If you hashtag #Scottishtop50 and let me know your nominations I will collate the results and post our Scottish alternative list in due course. Please nominate and share and give a voice to our fabulous women.
Published by Margot McCuaig
I’m a novelist and award-winning documentary filmmaker. My debut novel, 'The Birds That Never Flew', was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. 'Almost Then', my second novel, was published by Linen Press in April 2021. I write, produce and direct documentary films and won Royal Television Society Scotland awards in 2015 with 'Jock Stein' and for 'Jim Baxter' in 2016. 'Jimmy Johnstone' was nominated for a bronze Torc for Excellence in 2017. My feature length documentary film 'Tommy Burns won a RTS award in 2019. I made two children who are now making children too. That's the biggest achievement of all. I live in Glasgow, Scotland and Rathlin Island, Ireland. If you want to get in touch you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like me to attend a literature event then please have a look at my Scottish Book Trust profile. View all posts by Margot McCuaig