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Sky Sports today launches a powerful new documentary which reveals the issues female athletes face as their kit and equipment choices continue to be uncomfortable, sexualised or designed for men.

Fit for Purpose features exclusive interviews with Olympic champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Lioness legend Jill Scott, French Open finalist Coco Gauff and England Cricket World Cup winning captain Charlotte Edwards, and explores the impact these inequalities have on the wellbeing and performance of female athletes.

From the heightened risk of ACL injury due to ill-fitting equipment to body image concerns caused by outdated uniform regulations, the documentary explores the disparities while examining the growing resistance from female athletes aiming to have more control over how their bodies are presented as they compete.

It follows recent moves from sporting bodies to be more inclusive of women on their periods, including the Football Association agreeing to switch the colour of the Lionesses’ shorts from white to blue, and Wimbledon agreeing to relax its white dress code.

Miriam Walker-Khan, co-host and Diversity & Inclusion Reporter at Sky Sports, commented: “Support for women’s sport reached new heights over the past few years, thanks to the success of incredible athletes like the Lionesses...

"But it’s only in recent months we’re starting to see kit choices be more inclusive of women’s needs – and from the conversations I’ve had, it’s clear that we still have a long way to go. Our documentary continues an important conversation around the inequalities female athletes face, and showcases the pioneers who’re working to change their experiences.”

Jo Osborne, Head of Women’s Sport at Sky Sports, commented: “Throughout history, despite innumerable barriers, women’s sport has given us unforgettable, spine-tingling moments...

"If we’re to achieve true gender equity, it’s fundamental that we address the discrimination female athletes still face. Sky Sports remains committed to using its platforms to shine a light on these important issues as we champion women’s voices and look to a future where they can supercharge their talent with best-in-class kit and equipment.”

Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of UK Sport, said: “When you compete as an elite athlete, you want to give your absolute best – and so you want to address anything that stops you reaching your full potential. It’s fascinating to hear an Olympic champion like Jess Ennis-Hill reflect openly about subjects like self-consciousness and menstruation, and how they affected her...

"It’s encouraging to see bespoke bra fittings becoming more commonplace and topics such as the impact of menstruation on performance being better researched; female athletes need to feel they can speak up so that they can get the solutions that enable them to deliver their best performance.”

Fit for Purpose is hosted by Sky Sports’ Diversity & Inclusion Reporter Miriam Walker-Khan, and Sky Sports Reporter Gail Davis. It forms part of Sky Sports’ wider commitment to investigate and highlight the experiences of female athletes.

The documentary, Fit for Purpose, airs tonight, Tuesday 18 July, 10:00pm on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Mix.


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