IWD 2021 – Jo Herbertson

Jo Herbertson is a Secondary School teacher and sports coach, currently working with Cheshire Cricket Board as Women and Girls Club Development Officer. In January – March 2021, Jo co-hosted the Chance to Shine Live sessions, helping children to stay active during lockdown. To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, Jo has written about how she became involved in sport. 

Happy International Women’s Day everyone. My gut instinct is this day always deserves more than just one day but if it can help us to show gratitude to the kind women and girls that help us in so many ways across our lives, then we are on to a winner.

I found my passion for coaching at quite a young age and nothing to do with my ability in sport. I am very much an enthusiastic amateur. I chose to challenge [#ChoosetoChallenge] in a predominantly men’s world when I was growing up and got involved in lots of activities such riding a motorcycle, playing and coaching cricket, coaching football, running RugbyTots sessions and anything else that could one day lead to someone saying “My Mum and sister played sport and inspired me” rather than just Dad’s and brothers.

I was fortunate enough, 7 years ago, to give my opinion in the House of Commons around Women in Sport, and appear on BBC Breakfast with Tracey Neville, talking about how we needed to offer more equal job opportunities in sport to make a difference. The world slowly seems to be moving in the right direction. However, even on that day I fell into the traditional rhetoric of saying my dad helped me to be sporty (which he did) but as I grew older and now have a daughter of my own, I can truly see it was my Gran, mother, auntie and sister who supported me to be the woman who I am. I have never had one specific role model but I am encouraged and supported by the many women (and men), who support other women to be the best they can be. Try your best was always the motto in our house.

So many women have gone on to showcase what is possible, Chance to Shine CEO Laura Cordingley is just one fantastic example. But as I said at the start, if we can look beyond International Women’s Day as just a one of event and show gratitude to the men and women who support us every step in our journey’s, then hopefully that support and those opportunities for young girls will grow exponentially and equality will just be something that comes naturally in every walk of life.

Watch Jo in action in Chance to Shine Live:

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