"Boarders Without Borders" Empowering Young Women of Colour Through Sport
GirlDreamer is an empowerment platform for the next generation of women of colour. Through leadership development programmes and community initiatives, they aim to educate, elevate and empower young women so they are equipped with the access, skills and confidence to unleash their potential and fulfil their dreams. They position themselves between local communities of girls that struggle most with accessibility, opportunities and confidence and provide them with the platform they need to obtain their version of success.
In 2017, founders of GirlDreamer Amna Akhtar and Kiran Kaur introduced the UK’s First Women of Colour Longboarding Crew (the first of its kind in the whole of Europe). Their intention behind forming this group was to use the sport as a way to create and facilitate social change while helping young women of colour develop connections and gain opportunities. They now have a target to introduce 220 women of colour into adventure sports by 2020.
They brought longboarding to the girls of the city of Birmingham and decided to create a sporting community that built confidence and brought representation and inclusion to an area that desperately needed it. They initially couldn’t find any longboarders in Birmingham so Amna learned the basics in order to spearhead the initiative to fruition resulting in the first WoC longboarding crew to be born in 2017.
Young WoC are amongst the most marginalised groups in the UK. It does not help that they face multiple obstacles in areas like sports which would propel social inclusion but instead, has lead to stereotypes which have contributed to the lack of inclusion, representation and access to this field for young women everywhere. “Women of colour are underrepresented across a range of areas in society, and sport is a notable example. In the UK specifically, 31.4% of women are active participants in a sport, compared to over 40% of men, and for Asian women this percentage drops to 12.5%.”
GirlDreamer’s adventure sports initiative helps develop young women’s social skills, improve their mental health, and build their confidence all while making this accessible for those regardless of their socio economic background. Research has shown that participating in sport results in increased community development, better social cohesion, and can offer personal development opportunities including a sense of belonging and encouraging intercultural communication. Contribute to the movement or learn more here.
Article by Social Media & Content Manager Yaz Omran