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ArcHER programme set to educate on female body to improve success in sport

​News | 8 November 2023

​​Cardiff Metropolitan ​University has launched a new programme which aims to create an equal environment for women to play sport by equipping its students and workforce with a ‘deeper understanding’ of the female body.

Students from Cardiff Met listen to talks at ArcHER event

ArcHER – a play on Cardiff Met’s ‘Archers’ sports teams – will see the University invest in partnerships, events and educational workshops to help female athletes perform to the best of their ability, while educating on the factors that can impact performance. Cardiff Met will now work in partnership with Well HQ, who share vital data and research of how the female body works and functions, which is currently missing from health and fitness disciplines, including information on the menstrual cycle, puberty, breast support and the menopause, to roll out the ArcHER programme to staff, students and the local community.

​One student who will directly benefit from the programme is Abigail Yunker, 25, MSc Sports Coaching​ student at Cardiff Met. Abigail plays basketball for Cardiff Met’s BUCS and Women’s British Basketball League. She said: “I think it is really important to become educated about the different obstacles specifically women experience and how to gain the knowledge and resources to bridge that gap in sport. I don’t think women are educated enough about these obstacles. For example, most of my team had never had a proper bra fitting which is something that every woman should have access to, to improve their performance as an athlete.

“The program has brought a new light to some of the current issues that women face in sport allowing me to make connections as a player and a girls junior sport coach. I have always seen it as a fight for equality with men, but I learned that it’s more of a fight to embrace our differences and have the support to be able to succeed.”

Laura Williams, Assistant Director of Sport, Physical Activity & Health at Cardiff Metropolitan University said: “ArcHER was born with a view to inspire our female students and workforce to really understand the female body and achieve their goals and aspirations.

“The focus will initially be on performance sport and our performance services team and coaches, equipping them with a deeper understanding of the female body and how practically we can advance our current practices to support our female student-athletes.”

The launch of ArcHER was held at Cardiff Met in conjunction with Team Wales’ Women Sport Leadership event. Inspirational women and sector leading organisations at the forefront of women’s sport came together at Cardiff Met’s Cyncoed campus to offer support and information to female athletes, including Nixi Body, an absorbent underwear brand for periods; peBe, a high impact sports bra brand; Unicorn Cup, a menstrual cup company; and talks from mental health in elite sport organisation, Guardian Ballers.

Cardiff Met, which is a headline partner with Team Wales, teamed up for a Tim Cymru Business Club panel event during the day’s programme, which featured Rebecca Edwards-Symmons, CEO of Team Wales; Dr Emma Ross from the Well HQ; Suzy Drane, former Wales netball captain; Sarah Jones, Wales and GB Hockey player and Cardiff Met’s Student Union President Natalia-Mia Roach.

Dr Emma Ross, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at The Well HQ, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the ArcHER programme. Cardiff Met has made a long-term commitment to improving women’s experience in sport by investing in education and development of coaches, athletes and sports staff. This launch event marks the start of an important re-design of the women’s University sport ecosystem, and Cardiff Met is pioneering that change.”

Rebecca Edwards-Symmons, CEO of Team Wales said: “This event is hugely important for women from all walks of life, in competitive sport or leisure activities. Having a voice and hearing from so many inspirational women is key to keep pushing the boundaries and educating young females in sport. It’s a privilege to include our latest Team Wales Business Club in such a key programme.”