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Du Women in Sport

DU Women in Sport are a relatively new club here at Durham, which aims to provide a safe and inclusive environment for women to try new sporting opportunities. The programme provides taster sessions that run throughout the year, covering an array of sports, with tasters each weekend for women from any background, and any experience level.

Developed by the Presidency Panel at Team Durham, DU Women in Sport (DUWS) is a relatively new programme, designed to support and increase female participation and performance at Durham. Launched in 2022, each week DUWS promotes a series of new sports for female students to try out in organised taster sessions. So far, the team have provided tasters for fencing, lacrosse, rowing, rugby, judo, lifting, touch rugby, netball, e-sports, floorball, and volleyball.  Since the inauguration of DUWS, plentiful Team Durham clubs have expressed interest in providing taster sessions for non-club athletes, including but not limited to, football, boxing, kendo, dodgeball, basketball, lifesaving, cricket, handball, trampolining, hockey, and table tennis.

Launched at 2022's Fresher's Fair, DUWS were inundated with interest; successfully retaining approximately 44 females in Michaelmas term, followed by 65 session participants. The programme provides DUWS attendees with the opportunity to get to know some of our top-level performance athletes here at Durham, and how important promoting women in sport is for them.

The team rifled together quotes from those involved in the DUWS sessions, to find out why women in sport is important to them;

Camille Townsend, Durham University Tennis 

"Sport gives athletes a sense of pride, identity, discipline and responsibility. Female sport sometimes gets overshadowed by men's, but Women In Sport is a great way to show that we can make it our own.” 

Mary Tomblin, Women’s Judo Captain

“Female athletes in sport help to challenge gender stereotypes and create role models for future generations. Most importantly, there are so many sports out there to try and have fun with, as an escapism from work and other areas of everyday life.” 

Sasha Castel-Branco, Hatfield Boat Club President 

“Rowing, as many sports, is fairly male-dominated and therefore feels daunting to take part in as a woman. However, without women, it just wouldn’t function. The strength you gain, both physically and mentally, makes you feel powerful. We should all feel powerful in our own way.”  

Team Durham are extremely proud of the development of the DUWS programme, and hope it continues on throughout executive committees to come.