Women’s History Month x Basketball England

Basketball England is a proactive National Governing Body of Sport with their methods to increase diversity at all levels of the game leading them to being crowned Sports Organisation of the Year at the Sporting Equals Awards 2023 and ranking top in our Race Representation Index 2022.

As part of our Women’s History Month celebrations, we would like to shine a light on two amazing women who are working with Basketball England to help champion women within their sport and the positive impact they are having upon the game; Brandie Deignan and Shanice Beckford-Norton.

Brandie Deignan is a prominent figure in Basketball England who serves on the Board of Directors and leads the organisation’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Brandie brings a wealth of experience to her role with her corporate background, having worked for British Airways, Tesco, and Hilton Hotels. During her career, she was the first black female Managing Director of UK-branded restaurant groups, and her recognition in various awards highlights her commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Brandie Deignan, Non-Executive Director for Basketball England

One of the key issues that Brandie aims to address within her role on the committee is the gender disparity in basketball. Despite basketball’s popularity and engagement, Brandie questions why it lags behind football in the UK. She aims to bridge this gap by focusing on access, participation, and governance within Basketball England. She advocates for practical actions to drive inclusion, including capturing meaningful moments, fostering inclusive behaviours, and initiating difficult conversations. Within her role, Brandie uses her personal journey as a black woman in leadership to emphasise the need for representation, empathy, and safe spaces within organisations.

Shanice Beckford-Norton, captain of the London Lions basketball team, recently organised a two-day basketball camp for primary and secondary school girls at the Copper Box Arena as part of FIBA’s ‘Her World, Her Rules’ campaign, an initiative to promote women’s basketball across the globe. Joined by fellow players, coaches, and life skills experts, the camp aimed to introduce girls to basketball, teach them about gender inequality, and promote physical and mental well-being. The camp, attended by 40 girls, was followed by a London Lions game against the Durham Palatinates, which the participants were invited to watch. FIBA’s significant financial contribution to British Basketball supported events like these, inspiring over 400 girls to play basketball.

Girls taking part in Shanice’s training camp

Shanice’s camp was the first event under her new charitable organisation, ‘SBN: For the Kids’, which aims to provide opportunities for children from disadvantaged areas to play basketball. Reflecting on her own experiences and the impact of positive role models, Shanice emphasises the importance of providing resources and mentorship to help children achieve their dreams.

As one of the most successful players in the Women’s British Basketball League, Shanice advocates for more visibility of women’s basketball, both on TV and online, to inspire aspiring female players. She believes in creating safe spaces for girls to develop confidence and self-esteem through basketball, emphasising the accessibility and potential of professional sports careers.

It’s great to see the incredible work that Shanice and Brandie have carried out for Basketball England to help increase female participation within ethnically diverse communities.

For more information on taking part in Basketball head over to Basketball England’s website https://www.basketballengland.co.uk/get-involved/

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