University of Buckingham student launches group to encourage more women to get into sports photography

University of Buckingham student Sophia Rooke
University of Buckingham student Sophia Rooke

A student at the University of Buckingham has launched a new group to empower more women to become sports photographers.

Sophia Rooke, 20, who is studying on the journalism and communications course has launched a group called 'Women of Sports Photography’ after her research found there was a gap in representation and opportunities available between male and female sports photographers in the UK and worldwide.

The group is abbreviated to WOSP, is backed by the Chartered Institute of Journalists and will launch at a free seminar at the University of Buckingham next month.

Sophia said: "It is often the same two websites where sports photos by women are featured.

"It always has been a male dominated industry and men tend to hire other men - not because they are being sexist - just because they want to hire people like them.

"There are statistics that show things are changing for the better and becoming more equal in the United States but the gender gap is still present here."

Sophia cites American sports photographer Elsa Garrison as one of her inspirations.

She said: "The group is social media based at the moment and is designed to encourage networking - I want to provide women with more support.

"The goal is not to promote a pro-feminist or anti-male group - men are actively encouraged to support their co-workers through this platform.

"The end goal is to create a major online buzz globally with members organising seminars and workshops in order to connect with others and develop their confidence in this competitive industry.

" I want every single woman who picks up a camera to feel on top of the world with herself and confident that the only obstacle in her career is the ability to get the shot."

As well as her university course, Sophia is also doing freelance basketball work taking photos of the university's teams, working for Basketball England and doing work overseas for the National Basketball League of Canada.