In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we proudly feature interviews with resilient women who embody social, economic, cultural and professional achievements. These women are wonderful examples of 2021’s campaign theme: Choose to Challenge. A challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge, comes change. Their stories highlight the importance and power of women supporting women and how their rise to success was made possible through the upliftment of others.

Jamie Southgate

SA Women’s Indoor Hockey player

Princess Hockey South Africa

International women’s day jamie southgate

What is your background, what industry do you work in now, and how long have you worked in this industry?

I started playing hockey when I was 9 years old. I then stuck with the sport for the duration of my schooling career and progressed through the age group ranks. After high school, I was selected for the South African Women’s Indoor team in 2017 and have remained a part of the squad since then. In the midst of all the hockey I also furthered my studies in the field of Sport Science, while playing for Stellenbosch University’s 1st Ladies team. At this point in time, I am still a student at Stellenbosch University, studying my Honours in Performance Sport while playing hockey for the university and striving to be part of the Indoor World Cup Qualifying team.

What do you love about what you do?

Being in a team is what I love the most. You do not realise it, but the bond that you share with team mates can actually last a life time. I love learning from people and getting to know what makes them tick. We are all there for each other in the tough times and in the good times and I think that is so special and everyone should be able to experience it.

What are the professional and/or personal achievements you’re most proud of?

I would have to say achieving my first cap for the national team is one of my proudest moments. It may also have been one of the most nerve wracking experiences, but definitely one I will never forget. Next, I would have to say that graduating in Sport Science has been a proud moment for me. Even though we were not able to have an in-person ceremony due to Covid, just having that sense of accomplishment made it all worthwhile.

What challenges do you face as a woman in your industry?

Women’s indoor hockey is not as popular and well-known as other sports. As a result, many are not aware of our journey to success as well as our quest for funding. However, thanks to our very generous sponsor SPAR we are able to travel around the world and train to compete with the elite. There are many people who are starting to invest in our process and helping us to grow the world of indoor hockey through article write ups or features on websites etc.

As a Sport Scientist, the field is very male dominated and there has not been much opportunity for females to play pivotal roles in the industry. As we progress though, especially in the world we live in today, there will definitely be more opportunity for women in the field. Already there is a stronger presence of women who play vital roles in the successes of athletes or teams, and it can only get better from here. Technology is also improving and changing, so there is opportunity in that too.

What advice could you share with young women entering a male-dominated profession?

If I could give one form of advice, it would be that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. In a sport that has both female and male disciplines, there is nothing that your male counterpart can do that you cannot. And I think that is what is most important to remember.

Who has been your mentor, or what inspires you in your professional and personal life?

I would say that along my career path, all my coaches have been mentors in their own way. I learnt at least one thing from each of them whether it be in a professional or personal sense. Sport can teach you vital life skills and lessons.

I am inspired at seeing people work hard to achieve something they set their mind to. Whether it’s big or small, if they accomplish what they set out to do, that’s inspiring. To be on this kind of journey is a privilege and is what drives my passion to continue to grow within myself.

Do you have any other achievements, comments or advice for women you’d like to share?

I would say, do not throw in the towel when there is a setback. Take the opportunity to learn and to grow through whatever situation you may experience. The more you experience different situations, the better equipped you will be in the future.

Take a look at what Jamie Southgate gets up to

Keeping fit is top priority – Jamie sticks to a well-structured and disciplined fitness programme. As part of a national team, Jamie travels the world. The team competes against top athletes in indoor hockey to increase its strength and ability. They have played against teams ranked in the top 5 in the world and have not lost a series since. As they are from different parts of the country, in order to train as a team, the players commute to a centralised area for their training camps. This ensures that they are all kept on the same page and know what is expected of them. It is also to check that they are in form and working hard to secure their spot at the next World Cup. Jamie is also involved in attending various hockey clinics to impart her knowledge to the up and coming youth.

Take a look at Jamie Southgate’s Instagram @jamiesusan

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