I MET up with Judith McLeary and some of her colleagues from Scottish Curling – alongside Dougie Porteous of Active Stirling – and we discussed our plans to work collaboratively to mark 2019 International Women’s Day (IWD), which this year is on Friday, March 8.

As in previous years, the focus of the day centres on a hashtag that reflects the theme that brings us all together. This will set the scene for various organisations throughout the world to deliver an event to celebrate the progress that has been made so far in terms of equality for women.

This year they have chosen the hashtag #Betterforbalance. I think this is a great hashtag, as for me it has clearly identified what most people are looking to achieve when they talk about gender equality.

What we need is a balance that is representative in all areas of sport. We are still at the early stages of planning at the moment and I have to say I am really looking forward to it. I am sure that this will sit alongside a host of many other events, not only in Scotland, that will mark this day.

You don’t need to be part of a group or run an event to support this day. Individually you can highlight your support through any of the social media channels, using the hashtag. At the end of the day, every hashtag counts and will make a difference.

Highlighting good practice where there is a balance in board representation, female leaders, equal participation, prize money – in fact any aspect that has a balance – will be counted.

The IWD movement itself can be traced back as far as 1911, when it was supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Curling itself also has a long history in Scotland as it goes back to the 16th century. John McQuhin recorded a challenge about throwing stones across the ice between a monk at Paisley Abbey and a relative of the abbot in February 1541 and the written history of curling had begun!

Now Scottish Curling is identifying a lot of resources and putting in a huge amount of effort to bring a balance to the sport.

It’s the little changes, the positive moves forward, as well as the aim to have a good balance, that will bring equality into sport and benefit everyone.