Game Changers will bring together four women at the top of their game:
- Sue Smith, Sky Sports pundit and ex-England football international
- Dawn Airey, chair of FA Women’s Super League and Channel 4
- Zainab Alema, pioneering rugby player and activist
- Simone Magill, Everton and Northern Ireland footballer.
The free event on Tuesday 26 April will feature a panel discussion about their inspiring journeys, experiences in life through sport, the current state of play and what they think the future holds for women in elite sport, followed by an audience Q&A. All are welcome.
Zainab Alema will be speaking about her mission to be the first Black Muslim woman playing rugby for England.
She said: “I’m looking forward to speaking alongside these amazing women as part of the Game Changers event and what better place is there to be having these conversations than Edge Hill University, one of the first teacher training colleges for women.
“I’m passionate about bringing women’s rugby to a wider audience so this will be an amazing opportunity to share my love of the sport and hopefully inspire others to get involved.”
Game Changers is part of Edge Hill’s ongoing commitment to championing women. 2022 is a bumper year for women’s sport in England with the UEFA Women’s Euros, Women’s Rugby League World Cup and the World Gymnastics Championships all taking place here, as well as the continued popularity of events such as The Hundred and FA Women’s Super League.
Former international footballer Sue Smith played 93 times for England and is now a regular TV pundit for Sky Sports. An alumna of Edge Hill University, Sue was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2009.
Dawn Airey, Chair of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship, is also the interim Chair of Channel 4. She became an Edge Hill Honorary in 2018 in recognition of her career as an internationally-acclaimed executive in the broadcast and media industries.
Zainab Alema was named winner of the Times Grassroots Sportswoman of the Year in 2020. As a player for Richmond Rugby she has her sights set on becoming the first Black Muslim woman to play for England. She founded Studs in the Mud, a charity which uses rugby to empower women and children, and nurture a love of the game at grassroots level in countries such as Ghana and Morocco. She is also a qualified nurse.
Simone Magill plays for Everton FC and Northern Ireland; she will be joining the squad for the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euros this summer. She is also studying for a PhD in sport at Edge Hill.
Mark Allanson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for External Relations at Edge Hill, said: “Bringing these trailblazing, inspirational women together in one event will give students, staff and the community a fascinating insight into what it takes to excel as a woman in sport.
“I hope all who attend will feel inspired to aim higher and be empowered to pursue and achieve their own goals.”
Game Changers will take place at The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University on Tuesday 26 April with lunch provided from 11.45am and a Q&A session from 1pm.