Sport has the potential to empower women and girls but so has storytelling. Storytelling is a basic part of everyday life. Every one of us has a unique story to tell, it allows us to connect to people. Your own unique stories make you different than anyone else and it is essential for you to share with others for them to know who you are, what you do and why you do it especially in the arena of sport, as a girl and woman.
‘All over the world it has been recognised that sport can be a force to amplify women’s voices and tear down gender barriers and discrimination.’ – Dr Pam Serra
Women in sport are constantly challenging the misperception that they are weak and incapable. However, every time that hurdle is cleared, that ball is kicked, that board meeting is done, the demonstration of her physical strength, leadership and strategic thinking is a step taken towards gender equality.
Sport is an area whereby storytelling can leverage our partnerships and engagements with different audiences to teach everyone that, although sport is regarded predominantly a male dominated environment, gender-based discrimination has no place in it, on or off the field, anywhere in our lives and that a future where all playing fields are truly level for all women and girls can be achieved.
What is storytelling leverage?
Storytelling leverage is the power and influence behind the social and cultural activity of sharing stories. Every child, girl and woman have their own stories which can be shared as a means of education, cultural preservation, instilling moral values or as a tool of motivation and inspiration.
‘You never know who is listening and how beneficial that story of yours can be to someone.’ – Dr Pam Serra
The power behind storytelling plays an important role in convincing others and can help to influence others and unify the group by linking the past to the future and the challenges experienced into stories of success.
Benefits of storytelling:
Apart from power behind storytelling, there are benefits that arise from such a habit namely:
Realizing that sharing your story can help others
Stories can be healing, and many people benefit from getting the opportunity to pass on their wisdom to others. This is especially powerful for people which do not always feel that they have the chance to help others. We are ALL important and our stories are ALL meaningful. Words have power; positive power and both you and the next person can benefit from your storytelling.
Finding your voice
Finding your voice is another well-known benefit of storytelling, but what does that exactly mean? Well, it means learning how to express yourself and learning how to make sense of what has happened in your life. It helps to think about your life as a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It helps to think about how the various events—even the bad ones—have been part of a journey toward the person you want to become.
Re-affirming your values
Sometimes you learn things about yourself from the act of storytelling. It can be a way to simplify what is important. It is so easy to get swept up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle so pausing to tell your story can be a good reminder of your priorities. Taking some time to focus on values can be beneficial.
Finding peace, finding hope
People who have found their voice, shared their story, and reaffirmed their values often find a sense of peace and a hopefulness that they did not have before.
The purpose of this blog is for storytelling, whereby I will be sharing my stories with the hope that it will bring amongst you all a sense of solidarity and impetus to go out and share your own stories. The purpose of this blog is to assist every girl child and woman within sport to find their voice; be not ashamed nor fearful to be different and stick out.
‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.’ – Dr Pam Serra
Through your storytelling, may you reflect and be grateful for all the obstacles in your life but recognise how they have strengthened you as you continue with your journey.
The purpose of this blog is to be able to come together in this ‘safe space’ whilst supporting each other. The purpose of this blog is simply for … the storytelling of wonderful and amazing human beings, called women in sport.
So, go out there and Share! Share! Share! You never know who is listening and how beneficial that story of yours can be to someone. Till we meet again.
Photo 1 caption: Dr Pam Serra, Section Head: Sport and Recreation Management with the Tshwane University of Technology, is pictured with international track star Caster Semenya and Athletics coach Samuel Sepeng. Dr Serra discusses the powerful benefits of telling your story in this blog, a facility available to all gsport members to also tell their story. Photo: Supplied
With editing by gsport