International Women’s Day – Emma Cottell

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender-balance.

To celebrate the day, as well as raise awareness of the importance of gender-balance and the #BetterforBalance campaign, we will be talking to a number of women from the club and finding out what the day means for them, how korfball can help gender-balance, hearing their experiences and seeing if there are any lessons we can take forward.


Emma (pictured right) has been playing korfball on and off since 2010 and has been with Edinburgh City Korfball Club for 3 years. Emma is currently the captain for the 1st team which competes in the Scottish League. Outside of korfball she is training to be a nurse. Emma says “I have made some great friendships in the club with both men and women and it’s an ideal way to unwind.”


What does International Women’s Day and the #BalanceforBetter campaign mean to you?

For me, it means equal opportunities for both women and men and making the stereotypical gender roles a thing of the past. No-one should fall short of their ambitions because of their gender.


What are your experiences of gender-balance in your everyday life?

As a student nurse, I generally see more female nurses than male nurses. I am glad the long standing gender stereotyping of the nursing role is being challenged today and hope to see a more balanced workforce in future. Having a mixed nursing team changes the dynamic and increases options for dealing with sensitive situations.


Does korfball help to promote a gender-balance, and do you think there are lessons that can be learnt for the wider community from our sport?

A korfball team is comprised of 4 male and 4 female players split into two divisions: attack and defence each with 2 males and 2 females. The attacking division’s aim is to shoot into a basket to score goals. The attacker has to get away from their defender to score. Defenders have to be the same gender as the attacker. Korfball was developed in 1901 in Holland with equality in mind.

The best thing about korfball is that you don’t have to be confined to fixed roles or positions. Men and women can switch roles and tailor strategies to the competition. Anyone can score goals, assist a team-mate or rebound the ball after a shot. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, you make an equal contribution to the team. I think this model fits well within society, encouraging gender balance. Many popular sports like football have a conflict between the male and female teams effecting media coverage, sponsorship and spectator numbers. This isn’t a problem with korfball. There is no female korfball or male korfball. Korfball is just korfball.


Do you think the club is a positive influence on gender-balance and are there any areas that the club excels in or could do better?

The club has a good balance of female and male members now. When I first joined the club we sometimes struggled to get female players. The club has done really well to get great numbers now – we now have three teams competing in the Scottish League. An observation I’ve made watching other players is how female players are sometimes less confident to shoot than male players, particularly if they are quite new to the sport. I think the club has got better at encouraging players to be more confident in their shot and I now see women trying to shoot sooner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s