Sportside are delighted to announce the launch of The Sportside Podcast, with our host Flo Williams.
Hey Flo! Welcome to the Sportside team, and congratulations on your position as host of The Sportside Podcast! What about Sportside made you eager to work alongside us?
The concept of facilitating more access to the power sport is hugely important for me. I don’t know what I’d do without sport and Sportside allows more people to be part of a sporting community that will, no doubt, benefit their lives in so many ways. Especially women and young people, who may find it harder to participate in sport, this is the most exciting opportunity for growth.
At what age did you first start playing rugby? Has it always been the sport for you?
I started playing rugby aged 8, I was immediately drawn to it for the physical element and the fact I had always watched it on TV. I was engaged in all sport from a young age but I think it was the social & cultural aspects of rugby that made it my key sport.
Gender and sexuality are two barriers that you have had to face through grassroots to elite sport. How can sporting governing bodies help break these barriers, and in doing so, inspire our next generation?
There are so many things that can be done (which is the exciting part) from grassroots participation & encouraging more gender equality in participation by reaching out and offering rugby as a sport for girls in school, all the way to the elite level and having gender parity at board level and better visibility of the top end athletes. We need to normalise women in sport at every level.
You’ve played for both Loughborough Lightening and Wasps, but do you have a dream club you want to play for OR against?
Wasps were definitely a dream club to play for, mainly due to their heritage off the field. I would love to go back to my home club Aylesford Bulls where I started aged 8 and have another run out for them at some point.
In playing for various teams, you will have seen a great level of diversity in each squad. How important is having that diversity in sports, and what can sport learn from it?
I have seen diversity in terms of sexuality & gender but not enough diversity in terms of race & socio economic backgrounds, I would love rugby to embrace diversity across the board. Being part of diverse teams has allowed me to connect & learn from people I’d never otherwise have the opportunity to form bonds with. There are huge lessons to be learnt from sport, on the field, all I see is my team, your sexuality, race, values and socio economic status is irrelevant.
You have been pushing boundaries within rugby for years already, what is your proudest personal accomplishment so far in your career?
It’s hard to single out one moment, as there is value to be found whenever there is a push for equality, whether it’s removing a barrier or reminding your peers there is progress being made. The change of brand policy by Canterbury kit brand was definitely a highlight, the change means that there is one less barrier for any female teams involved in their kit launches, allowing for more visibility.
You were recently in the Wales squad, congratulations! We know there have been calls for WRU to receive more support. What do you think needs to happen to elevate the national team and ultimately, the sport?
The more visibility women’s rugby can get as a whole, including national teams, leagues, tournaments, clubs and individual players the better.
Alongside being a Premiership rugby star, you are also an entrepreneur. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to create your own business, The Perception Agency?
Being a female athlete I experience first hand the disparity in sport both on and off the field. I believe the perception of female sport is the biggest cause of inequality, this lead me to launch my own marketing agency (after working in the industry) specialising in the change of perceptions and ultimately the removal of barriers I have personally experienced & witnessed throughout my sporting career.
You started the #IMENOUGH campaign. Tell us why you started this and what the campaign has achieved to date?
The #enough campaign developed from calling out the Irish Rugby Union on their lack of visibility of their female players on their kit launch. Within a week of the original launch, Canterbury changed their brand policy to always include female players, vowed to increased visibility of female rugby players across the brand & prepared a new launch using female players. This campaign also sparked a global movement of female rugby players speaking up about their experiences of not feeling ‘enough’ or having ‘enough’ of this substandard treatment. There has been visibly more female faces present across the media specifically for kit sale purposes post the #enough movement which in turn will help grow fanbases.
As we mentioned, you’re the new host of The Sportside Podcast! What kind of topics can we expect to hear you cover?
Equality, diversity & inclusion are really important topics for me, but also those behind the scenes stories and the personalities behind the “athlete” are hugely important and can resonate with so many people. I can’t help myself when it comes to humour so expect some Dad jokes and lighthearted analogies to help illustrate difficult topics.
And finally, if you had to fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck, which would you pick and why? (We think you’ll win either way)
Definitely x100 duck sized horses, a duck sized duck scares me at times, it’s those beedy eyes…
Thank you so much Flo, and welcome to the Sportside team!