IWD 2022 #BreakTheBias
I am so passionate about the shooting sport for so many reasons. Shooting is a sport for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like or how old you are. It is one of the most accessible and inclusive sports you can find worldwide and on top of this, it is an Olympic sport. A sport which has been a part of the Olympic programme since 1896, with the exception of 2 games in 1904 and 1928.
Despite the stereotypes often associated with shooting, the sport is for women just as much as it is for men. Whilst it has previously been recognised as male dominated, times have changed. There are now over 34,000 women in the UK with shotgun certificates and this number is on the rise.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias, which is something I am particularly excited to talk about in relation to the shooting sport. Shooting is no longer a man’s sport. It’s a sport for women, a sport where women have dominated for many years and will continue to do so in the future. Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games saw Zuzana Rehák-Štefečeková (Slovakia) shoot 125 targets straight, whilst no male athlete did.
The shooting sport offers countless benefits, and its positive impacts can be appreciated across the world, offering sporting opportunities for many women who may not have previously felt like they were able to participate in sport. In the UK, women are now experiencing clay shooting like never before. Women are becoming more empowered to try new experiences and to take the step into competitive shooting sports because there are more opportunities available than ever before.
As an athlete, I am so inspired to see so many women trying clay shooting, it motivates me to work harder to increase levels of participation amongst women. To be able to continue to do this and to #BreakTheBias within the shooting sports, as well as ensuring that more women are getting involved, we need to do more as a community to promote the sport. As a community, we need to educate others and champion our female athletes, their journeys, and their achievements, of which there are many. To see the shooting sport thrive, we need to ensure that these stories are not overlooked because of a lack of recognition of shooting as a sport in the media. We need to secure a base level of representation across all media platforms so women can access positive content about the sport, the stories of our female athletes and see relatable women achieving great success on a local and international scale.
This International Women’s Day is very important to me as someone striving to increase female participation, as it’s my first working with Clays Bar. Clays is a virtual clay target shooting experience in the City of London, enabling those who live and work in the city to try the shooting sport in a fun and engaging environment. Set in a cocktail bar, the atmosphere allows people who have never tried shooting before to get involved without the pressure or nerves that can be associated with trying something new in a ‘real life’ environment.
Clays is a brilliant stepping-stone for those who would like to try the sport properly and has the potential to change the way women see the shooting sport. It makes shooting more visible and accessible for those who have never even perceived shooting to be a sport before. The reach and appeal of the Clays, as well as their drive to educate people about Olympic shooting is something that I have never seen before in the UK. Since its opening in November, thousands of women have quite literally ‘taken a shot’ at the shooting sport (if you pardon the pun) and these numbers are increasing rapidly. For me, even if 1% of these women come and try clay shooting in real life, it will be a huge success for the shooting sport.
In order to secure the future of the shooting sport, increasing female participation is a must. We cannot do this without the innovation and relentlessness of those like Clays who are willing to educate and inform women about the shooting sport, as well as using the power of our own stories to inspire and encourage other women to get involved.
If you are interested in trying clay shooting, there are many ways for you to do so. Get in touch with the National Governing Body of your home Nation (listed below) to find out where your closest shooting range is, or to find a local shooting instructor.
England – https://www.cpsa.co.uk
Wales – https://www.wctsa.co.uk
Scotland – https://www.scta.co.uk
Northern Ireland – http://www.ucpsa.com/
If you want to try clay shooting in a more social environment, head to Clays Bar in Moorgate for a virtual clay shooting experience in the heart of London.
Website - https://clays.bar
If you feel like you don’t know where to start, or need some guidance, please do reach out to me. I would love to help you get started in your clay shooting journey.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website – https://www.gtroberts.co.uk