International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March, is a globally recognised celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. To commemorate the day, UWA Sport caught up with several female athletes to hear their stories, and find out what IWD means to them.
Hear from Hockeyroos star and UWA student athlete Georgia Wilson below.
International Women’s Day was first marked in 1911 – over 100 years ago. Why do you think the day is still relevant?
The roles of women have shifted dramatically across the course of history, and the capabilities and talent of females has only continued to evolve with each year. International Women’s Day remains significant as it allows recognition and award for women who have achieved remarkable success across various aspects in life, providing inspiration and motivation to other women to continue forging the way towards greatness.
What are the barriers you faced as a woman in becoming successful in your sport, career, and studies, and how did you overcome them?
As a female athlete, I have had to remain true to my passion and dream of representing my country at the highest level, choosing to reduce work and study loads in order to play with the Hockeyroos. Unfortunately since my sport does not provide adequate income to live off solely, I have always had to work extremely hard to ensure I receive an education to ensure a career after sport. It's been difficult; you are constantly tired and drained from training commitments and then have to go to work or uni afterwards but the biggest tool is to ensure I am organised which guarantees my recovery, nutrition and wellbeing remains at focus.
Who is your biggest influence or icon?
I really love Serena Williams. The confidence and prowess she exudes as a female athlete is empowering, all whilst overcoming body image stereotypes of what a female sportswoman should be. She is gracious off court but displays complete trust in herself and her preparation whilst playing which are qualities I aspire to develop into my own sports career.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in sport?
Have confidence in yourself, knowing that if you are really passionate and willing to work hard that success will follow. I went through a period where I was so focussed on achieving the outcome of playing for my country that I lost confidence in my own ability. My coach and I will often talk about how we must focus on the process and the outcome will follow. It's a quote that has been repeated a lot lately as I try to grasp the severity of my ACL injury and have had to start re-learning how to walk, to do a basic squat, to ride a bike. Playing again for my country sometimes seems out of reach so during those moments I’ll remind myself that playing elite sport is a process. Above all, you need to want to be successful in your sport. You need to have a continual desire to improve, to develop into the best athlete possible takes effort.
What is the most courageous thing you have heard or witnessed a woman doing in the workplace/ on the sports field and why?
I was fortunate enough to watch Victoria Duval from the US play in the Hopman Cup two years ago. She had overcome Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer and recently made a comeback. She was losing badly but the pure determination to continue chasing every shot despite playing against a much higher ranked opposition in a full stadium provided a moment of great inspiration for me that I often reflect on when I feel out of my depth against oppositions.
Graduate Officer, UWA Sport Marketing, Communication and Events