5th March 2019

International Women's Day: The Officials' Line - Sylvia Philips

6 March 2019 

 International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year and is a focal point in the movement of women’s rights.  This year’s campaign theme of #BalanceforBetter is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. 

Athletics prides itself on being a gender balanced sport and our officials play a major part in achieving this, where currently there are 59% male and 41% female officials in the UK.  In support of International Women’s Day 2019, throughout March, we will feature Officials across the UK to celebrate them and their commitment to athletics.  

Sylvia Philps

What is your role as an official?
I am a Level 2 timekeeper, Level 1 field official and Level 1 endurance official.

How long have you been officiating?
I have been officiating for approx. 7 years.

What inspired you to become an official?
I wasn’t originally inspired, I just started timekeeping to help out the club where my daughter was a member, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, everyone was so helpful and I found I was helping the club while enjoying myself. I have just started officiating at large endurance events and up to now am finding it enjoyable and meeting lovely people.

What would you say to anyone wanting to get into officiating?
Officiating has such great opportunities for future development (working up to international events) very varied, meet lovely people who are very supportive of new officials and not be scared.

What has been the highlight of your officiating career?
My highlight was timekeeping at the Special Olympics National games in Sheffield in 2017.

What can we do as a sport to achieve a #BetterBalance in officiating?
I would say in promotional material show young people predominantly women. Most officials are retired so when people see them they can easily assume it is for older people and so not likely to attract younger women. Have something along the lines as ‘this girl can’ as women can definitely officiate, perhaps we women officials should be more involved promoting women.

Could Officials be promoted more at the beginning of large events. I know that we have low profile so on TV officials are hardly seen, so people don’t see how many we need.