From blasting Jess Ennis with powder paint to getting Westminster to sit up and listen, we chart the eventful journey of our Fair Game campaign.
Trott, Pendleton, Simmonds, Tweddle. A year ago these names might have drawn a blank, but an exhilarating 12 months of sport means these women are now household names. Undoubtedly, London 2012 had a mammoth impact, but (prepare for some subtle boasting) Stylist’s Fair Game campaign has given the profile of women in sport a huge boost too.
Launched in April 2012, the campaign pledged to change the lack of coverage, funding, sponsorship and recognition given to women’s sport. We had high-profile support from the offset. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his wife, Miriam González Durántez, got behind the cause. “We owe this to the younger generation: we need a legacy,” Durántez told Stylist in February 2012. Clegg added that he hoped Fair Game would create enthusiasm. It certainly did.
Here are some highlights from the past year
Stylist became the first women’s magazine to put a female footballer on its cover. Rachel Yankey was the perfect star: humble, inspiring and with as many goals for England to her name as David Beckham. “To have a decent standard of living we have second jobs. That would never happen in men’s football,” she said. “But if we do something about it now, future generations will reap the benefits.”
As the country was gearing up for an Olympic summer, heptathlete Jessica Ennis was our cover star. “Everyone’s working as hard as each other, so we should all get recognition for our achievements whether you’re a man or a woman,” Ennis told Stylist. She was just one in a long line of celebrities to champion the campaign, with Zara Phillips, Victoria Pendleton and Denise Lewis all showing support.
London 2012 was undoubtedly the girls’ games. Women won the first bronze, silver and gold medals for Britain and the women’s football team drew a crowd of 70,000 to Wembley. Our “Blippable” Olympics issue saw the GB synchronised swimming team become virtual cover stars.
Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, wrote exclusively for Stylist. “Women are second-class citizens when it comes to prize money,” she said. “The winning team in [2013’s] men’s FA Cup will get £1.8m – the women will get just £5,000 [shared by the team]."
Stylist joined forces with sports giant adidas to create the Fair Game Awards, an initiative to boost funding and kit out upcoming female athletes and amateur teams. We were inundated with 25,000 entries and five hugely worthy athletes (see below) each received a £2,000 bursary from adidas. Ten amateur teams also had their share of £40,000 of kit and last week a lunch was held at London’s The Modern Pantry to commemorate Stylist’s individual winners.
The hair, the blazers, the highlighter pen. Everything about Clare Balding made us desperate to snap her up as Stylist’s sports columnist. She has since written about everything from Lance Armstrong to the joys of women’s football: “You won’t see any diving or swearing at the ref. There won’t be any racist chanting or homophobic abuse.” Impeccably put.
Since our campaign began, the BBC has said it will show the whole of the UEFA Women’s Euros for the first time this July, and Maria Miller, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, has urged sports broadcasters to feature more women. The state of women in sport is changing, and we’re more than halfway there in our bid to get 10,000 signatures to persuade those in power that it should continue to do so.
To help us in our battle against sexism in sport, sign our petition.
Meet the winners of our Fair Game awards
Introducing the five athletes chosen to receive a £2,000 bursary from adidas
From left: Fair Game judge Guin Batten from the Youth Sport Trust (which supported Stylist's Fair Game bursary), Stylist acting editor Susan Riley, Jasmin, Fran, Nekoda, Nicky Waller from Adidas and Adele (Alex was away training)
Fair Game Winners portraits by David Woolfall for Stylist
On Twitter: @nekodadavis_57
ABOVE: Nekoda at the Stylist Fair Game lunch
Nekoda won three gold medals in 2012 and climbed to second in the European junior rankings. She is planning to compete at the Pan American World Cup in El Salvador this June and is hopeful for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.“Despite my success, I felt like a nobody. Winning this award feels like my hard work has finally paid off. The money will pay for new judo gi [uniforms].”
ABOVE AND BELOW: Nekoda mid-fight and with fellow competitors at the Judo European Cup
On Twitter: @franrbrown
ABOVE: Fran at the Stylist Fair Game lunch
Fran is the world number one paraclimber (an adapted form of rockclimbing). She partially lost the use of her legs following a spinal cord injury. “Being a para-athlete I pay for everything twice because my coach, Jimmie, has to travel with me. I’m really grateful for this support.”
ABOVE AND BELOW: Fran climbing and in her early days
On Twitter: @jasmintaylor
ABOVE: Jasmin at the Stylist Fair Game lunch
Jasmin lives in Chamonix, France, between December and April. She is the Overall French Cup telemark champion (where the heel lifts off the ski) and hopes her discipline will become an Olympic sport. “Off-season I work as a personal trainer to cover my flight costs. This bursary will take some pressure off.”
ABOVE AND BELOW: Jasmin skiing and collecting her medal on the podium
On Twitter: @adelle_tracey
ABOVE: Adelle at the Stylist Fair Game lunch
Adelle was selected by Dame Kelly Holmes as one of seven promising athletes to light the Olympic cauldron at the 2012 opening ceremony. Qualifying for the 2016 games is her goal.“Winning Fair Game has been the highlight of this year. My mum usually pays for everything from new kit to physio.”
ABOVE AND BELOW: Adelle competing in her childhood days
On Twitter: @alexgreenwood16
ABOVE: Alex (left) competing against Liverpool Ladies FC in August 2012 Photo: Getty Images
Alex joined Everton aged eight and is a full-back. Last year she won the FA Young Player Of The Year award. “I’m honoured to have been recognised outside of the football world. The money will help with gym costs, equipment and nutrition supplements."