- Procter & Gamble (P&G) has partnered with Olympic and Paralympic athletes, Alice Dearing, Jodie Williams and Olivia Breen to break down barriers to entry in sport.
- Partnership comes as new research from P&G finds that more than half (54%) of Brits wanted to try a sport but weren’t able to.
- Breaking Down Barriers forms part of P&G’s ongoing Lead with Love campaign, which unites its longstanding focus on Community Impact, Equality & Inclusion and Environmental Sustainability, as part of its overarching Citizenship platform.
This summer, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has partnered with Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls in a bid to break down the barriers that surround the sporting world. Sprinter Jodie Williams, swimmer Alice Dearing and T38 sprint and long jumper, Olivia Breen, all believe nothing should stop you from playing any sport you want to try, regardless of race, gender, background or culture.
All three athletes have had their fair share of mountains to climb on their way to representing Great Britain at an elite level. But now, they are joining forces with P&G to remove the barriers that prevent people from getting involved in sports, whilst dispelling the stereotypes that surround the ‘type’ of person who is considered good at them.
As part of the campaign, entitled Breaking Down Barriers, P&G has commissioned research which found that more than half of UK adults (54%) wanted to try a sport, but never did. A third of those surveyed (33%) cited no locally available training in their community or school as the reason why, making it the number one barrier to entry for UK adults. A quarter (25%) gave up on certain sports because they didn’t think they would be good enough at them, and a worrying 16% didn’t believe they fit the stereotype of what people who play that sport are ‘supposed’ to look like.
Meanwhile, a third (34%) of UK adults believe someone’s background and culture affects whether they will be a successful athlete or not.
Williams, Dearing and Breen have proven that you can do anything if you set your mind to it; it shouldn’t matter what background or culture you are from. But more is needed to ensure there’s greater opportunities for everyone interested in trying out different sports, with almost a quarter (23%) of those surveyed believing there needs to be more diversity amongst athletes.
Jodie Williams believes “The need for equality and representation in sports is paramount. Communities can really be brought together by the power of sport, and we have a responsibility to help to make that happen. This summer, I’m so pleased to have been able to support Femlead through P&G’s Athletes for Good Fund, making a real difference to those who need it most and echoing P&G’s longstanding commitment to drive for a more equal world."
“I am thrilled to be working with P&G as part of its mission to drive for greater inclusivity – not only in sport, but the wider world. It’s something that is incredibly close to my heart, particularly as the first Black woman to represent Team GB in Olympic swimming”, said Alice Dearing. “This summer, I hope that people everywhere are inspired to get involved in sport and to continue to Break Down Barriers.”
Olivia Breen said: “I’m very excited to be involved in this campaign. Athletics has made me stronger, and being involved in the Paralympic Games completely changed my life, giving me experiences that I never thought possible. My hope is that through this campaign, people will feel empowered to get involved in sports, no matter who they are, where they come from, or how much experience they have”.
Globally, P&G has partnered with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee to launch the Athletes For Good Fund – an initiative through which 52 athletes from around the world, including Williams, Dearing and Breen, have been awarded a $10,000 grant to support a charity of their choosing. The move brings together the company’s longstanding support of the Olympic and Paralympic Movement alongside its continued focus on driving for a more equal world through its equality and inclusion strategy.
All three athletes’ chosen charities work to continue to break down barriers in different ways. Dearing’s chosen charity, the Black Swimming Association, of which she is lead ambassador, is working to encourage more Black people to swim. Breen is an ambassador for leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire, which supports disabled people to live, learn and work as independently as they choose. She recently developed an introductory toolkit called #showmeyoucan to help disabled people to stay active at home throughout the pandemic. Whereas Williams is a trustee of Femlead, a Ugandan female empowerment and rights charity which helps to set up regular workshops in Ugandan villages, providing girls with the knowledge they need to combat sexual assaults and raise awareness of the daily struggles faced.
Jonathan Carroll-Goldin, Brand Director, Olympics, P&G Northern Europe, said: “Sports play a vitally important role in society, helping to bring people together, keep them healthy, and learn new skills. Despite this, so many misconceptions prevent people from getting involved. Through our research, which has uncovered the most challenging barriers blocking access, as well as our partnership with three inspiring female athletes, we're honoured to use our combined voices to spark conversations, and open hearts and minds. We hope that we have inspired people everywhere to break down barriers and #LeadWithLove”.