Footpatrol International Women’s Day | Changing the Record with Amy Conroy
It’s time to change the record. At Footpatrol we’re all about building a space to highlight creatives, and want to empower the women we have within our community. For International Women’s Day, we’ve teamed up with, Spring The Agency, an all female-owned creative collective. For a month-long campaign to change the record around stigmas and stereotypes that women face in their respective industries.
Introducing silver medalist Paralympic Basketball Player Amy Conroy . We spoke with Amy about the journey to her paralympic success and the stigmas she’s faced as a woman in sport.
Footpatrol: Amy, great to meet you! Tell us about yourself.
Amy Conroy: My name is Amy Conroy. I play wheelchair basketball for Great Britain and I’m a three-time paralympian.
FP: What does ‘change the record’ mean to you?
AC: For me, I guess it means levelling up your views, who you are, and what you believe in. Not just sticking to the same status quo. I love the quote, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always have what you’ve always got.” So I guess just having a progressive mindset, meeting new people and hearing their views. I think ‘change the record’ is a really powerful slogan.
FP: You’ve spoken about not enjoying wheelchair basketball at first – what was that breakthrough moment / driving force that made you decide to go for it?
AC: I saw my now teammates playing on TV at the Paralympic World Cup and they were these confident, powerful, talented women – polar opposite of me at the time, anyway. I thought, ‘people can see you, you’ve got one leg, and you don’t care?’ And I just thought, ‘I want to do that.’ And I think that’s the power of awareness. Sometimes you don’t know what you can do until you see it and you think, ‘if they can, why can’t I?’
FP: As a female paralympic basketball player, do you face any stigmas or stereotypes in your industry?
AC: I definitely think there are still a lot of stigmas around Paralympic sports and wheelchair basketball. I mean, when I first heard about it I thought it was going to be lame. I think people are often quite surprised at how often I train. It’s an elite sport. We train every day, we work hard, and it’s really competitive. There are massive highs and massive lows. If I could change the record on anyone’s mindset I would say: Paralympic sport is real sport – people have just gone through some extra stuff like the odd car crash or cancer. More awareness of Paralympic sports would make me so happy.
FP: We hear that. What’s your proudest achievement to date?
AC: It’s gotta be winning silver at the World Championships against the Germans in the semi-final. We’d lost to them all year and they’d won the semi-finals for the past few years and there was a lot of grit and fire within us that drove us to win. I don’t think anyone except us thought we could do it.
FP: Can you tell us how you’ve been breaking down barriers in your industry?
AC: To break down barriers, I’ve been trying to go for campaigns, I think visibility is really powerful. I love when brands represent everyone authentically. My sister and I are currently trying to start a business to promote inclusivity in the workplace, so stay tuned on that one! I think just go for things, regrets are the things you don’t do!
FP: Why is International Women’s Day still important and needed?
AC: I think IWD is still so important. It’s amazing to reflect back on how far the movement has come in the past 100 years. For everyone to reflect on themselves, their own attitudes and beliefs and how they can improve. I think it’s important to keep ourselves accountable. Everyone has ignorance about things. What doesn’t occur to you, doesn’t occur to you and not to feel embarrassed if you do have ignorances but to work on yourself and shine a light on injustices still in the world. People need to check themselves, everyone has busy lives so often don’t stop to think about bigger issues.
FP: What does the future look like for women in para-sports? What do you want to see?
AC: My team have just started the first-ever Premier Women’s League in the world, so that’s quite cool – and the BBC is showing some of the games. My dream would be to have true fans who love the sport, even if that comes with trolls! Like, come on, troll us like everyone else! It’s a real sport, do it! I want Paralympic sport to be a sport in it’s own right, instead of people being like, “aw bless you for going out, you’ve only got one leg, good for you.” No, it’s a real sport – it’s feisty!
My dream would be big crowds, big channels covering it and any kids going through cancer or something else can feel like hell yeah, I can still do that and make those big dreams come true.
FP: What advice would you give to your younger self?
AC: When I was going through the whole insecure, not accepting myself phase. I would tell myself not to care what other people think, if you stay true to you and act in a way that you’re proud of, it doesn’t matter what people think.
Make sure to follow @amyconroy10
Shout-out to the full female team that worked on this campaign:
This campaign is powered by Nike!