Advanced search

WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Clare Balding webchat - Wednesday 8 January, 12 midday - 1pm

(91 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-Jan-14 20:35:41

Our first webchat guest for 2014 is <drumroll> Clare Balding. Clare last joined us back in July 2012 on publication of her autobiography My Animals and other Family. Shortly after that, she lead us through the incredible journey that was the London Olympic and Paralympic Games - and emerged from the experience with the words 'national' and 'treasure' surgically attached to her name.

This year, Clare will be talking about the BT Action Woman of the Year Awards: a public vote to find the finest sportswoman of 2013. There's a fabulous line-up of 10 contenders - including Ellie Simmonds, Christine Ohuruogu, downhill biker Rachel Atherton and freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes - and the winner will be announced on the Clare Balding Show on Saturday 25th January. Please do cast your vote before 19th January.

Clare is passionate about boosting the profile of women's sports which currently only get 5% of the coverage and 0.5% of the sponsorship money received by men's sports. Her show every week commits to showing at least one female guest, and her view is that the more the public get to know our sportswomen, the more they will care about them.

Come and chat to Clare on Wednesday between midday and 1pm, or post a question to her in advance on this thread.

livelablove Wed 08-Jan-14 12:52:10

Thanks for your reply Claire, great news about the dog trainer MNHQ

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 08-Jan-14 12:53:41

Hi Clare, Last time you visited us was just before London Olympics. We thought you may like to see our celebration of the olympics and paralympics playmobil-style

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:55:09


Hello Clare, My question is whether you're happy at the way you are portrayed in the media by others, and whether you think that portrayal has changed? Social media has allowed you to put your views across and your take on life without anyone else being involved in the edit, as has writing newspaper columns, magazine articles and presenting. I just wondered whether you felt that other people presented you in a way that you were happy with.

I think you're fab, by the way. I like listening to you and I am a great admirer of your relaxed but very confident style, which is based on your obvious knowledge of what you are talking about!

I've always felt that coverage of women, whether they be in business, politics, or in broadcasting, focuses far too heavily on what they look like. This happens sometimes to men but it's not nearly as pronounced. It's a drip, drip effect that means women worry more about what they look like because they know they're going to be judged on it and so it goes on. It's just a shame because I think it takes away from more important qualities - such as intelligence, leadership, eloquence and imagination.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:59:27


Do you think National Hunt lady jockeys can ever be considered equal to men? Whilst a lot of horses go better for a lady and ladies can be equal in skill, balance and race awareness, how important is physical strength and fitness where men, physiologically, will always be superior?

Equestrian sports are interesting in terms of gender balance because in eventing, dressage or show jumping they have been genuinely equal for so long that no one would even think that a woman wouldn't do just as good a job as a man. In racing, jockeys are dependent upon owners and trainers giving them the chance on good horses. Even the best jockeys are no good if the horse isn't up to it. In jump racing, Nina Carberry, Katie Walsh and Lucy Alexander are doing a fine job of proving how strong, fit and tactically aware they are and that's how it will happen - they will ride big race winners and more and more young girls will realise it's possible and therefore the talent pool widens. You do have to be strong as a jockey, but not as strong as a weightlifter or an Ironman Triathlete. Women tend to be naturally lighter than men so there are advantages in the racing world and I don't think it will be too long before a female jockey wins the Derby and/or the Grand National.

jonicomelately Wed 08-Jan-14 13:01:31

I really support your efforts. I have boys (sport mad) but my nieces are both sport mad and play to a very high level in their respective sports. It gives them a dimension to their lives which I see lacking in other teenage girls. They are an inspiration to my boys, who are a few years younger.
My boys play rugby and the team at their club which is most successful is the ladies team. My eldest is in awe of them.
No real question I suppose. I just wanted to say what a brilliant campaign this is smile

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 13:02:20


Oh yes, I too am worried about the Olympics and our gay folks who will be there.

I really think that attitudes like that should prevent countries from being awarded any major events.

As I said on 'Desert Island Discs' I think it is better that I go than that I don't go. I am pleased that Barack Obama is sending Billie-Jean King as part of his delegation. It's an important message.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 13:05:31

That's all we've got time for, I'm afraid. I'm off to BT Sport now to prep for this weekend's show. Don't forget to have a look at their website, click on 'Women in Sport' and you can see all the nominees for the Action Woman of the Year Award. The winner will be announced on 'The Clare Balding Show' on Jan 25th.
Thank you so much for your questions and your support. I feel stronger knowing I have the Mumsnetters behind me. Thank you.

jonicomelately Wed 08-Jan-14 13:06:19

Actually I sort of do have a question. I watched an amazing documentary over christmas where Sam Tompkins went to a school to help underachieveing kids. He was helped by Kevin Sinfield and Kevin Peacock. Rugby players have a rep for being a bit monosylabic but they gave heartfelt, brilliant talks to the kids. Is this something that could be done perhaps with female sportspeople and girls?

jonicomelately Wed 08-Jan-14 13:07:21

Oh. She's gone. Bye Clare.

livelablove Wed 08-Jan-14 13:11:00

Thanks Clare, you were very interesting to chat with.

oh grrr just missed her. Did anyone ask her what she thought about the Cheltenham ladies "no more page 3 sponsorship?

SuburbanCrofter Wed 08-Jan-14 17:26:06

Oh, I'm too late! She's a legend - inventing the MoBot, her interview with Bert le Clos at the Olympics, I could go on!

LottieJenkins Wed 08-Jan-14 18:34:43

She answered my question!!! grin

FrankelInFoal Wed 08-Jan-14 18:48:36

Darn I should have popped by to see if she would notice my user name grin

Mehrida Wed 08-Jan-14 21:30:32

Ooh I had a question answered, yay. Thanks MN for having a real female role model on. I'm surprised she got relatively so few questions compared to some though.

I guess that kind of demonstrates part of the problem with not enough women engaging with sport.

Ps anyone know what BTsport are up to these days..?

edamsavestheday Wed 08-Jan-14 22:46:09

Damn, missed it! Love CB and Alice too.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now