TRADITION, to me growing up, was a good thing. For instance, I loved everything that surrounded the tradition of Hogmanay, even although it involved me having to help out with the major cleaning project carried out before ‘the bells’.

Steak pie before midnight, calendars taken down and the new ones put in situ with the picture facing the wall, sending Dad outside to be the first foot with a half bottle of whisky, as a bottle was too expensive, and some New Year bun! In my mind it was good to keep hold of the tradition, however, for whatever reason, many have died out now.

One tradition that has hit the headlines in the past few weeks, and is now looking as if it will also cease, is the tradition of using ‘walk-on’ girls at some of our top sporting events. This whole debate has had me in a quandary and I might as well be honest about it.

For many years working in women’s football I met several people who told me ‘women shouldn’t play football’, this also included one of my favourite uncles, who was a professional footballer in his time, Leslie Johnston. Uncle Les was a record holder. In 1948 he recorded the highest transfer fee around of £12,000 with a move from Clyde to Celtic, an absolute fortune at that time. All through his life he held the opinion that women and girls shouldn’t play football in case they injured themselves and there are still people around to this day who don’t think women should participate in some sports for many different reasons.

For me, people making decisions on what women should and shouldn’t do is wrong. I’ve always believed that we should ensure that women have the opportunity to do whatever they want, and no-one should make that decision for them, particularly when based on gender. Astronaut, professional athlete, lumberjack, whatever profession or pastime women choose, no-one should have the right to prevent them from doing so. That is where my quandary lies, as it now looks as if we are dictating to young women that they can’t be ‘walk-on’ girls and as many use this experience to move into the modelling world, or perhaps are students who are looking for pocket money, it has created problems for them.

However and I am sure you all know there is an however to follow, I do think that sports should not be using women to decorate or titillate. All sports should encourage women to participate, creating opportunities for them to enter the sport and supporting them by ensuring a pathway from participation to elite, again, if that is their choice. This is a responsibility they have, yet for many they are still evading it.

It has taken a directive from the broadcasting companies who have clearly stated they will no longer cover sports who use ‘walk-on’ girls, to make the sports change practice. So let’s hope that these sports will now focus on supporting young female athletes by creating and supporting them into various opportunities for them in sport.

SW/S are starting their own tradition with our Pioneers In Sport project when we will induct four past wonder-women into our Hall of Fame. It’s on Sunday, March 4 with ‘Afternoon Tea’ in the GoGlasgow Hotel helping to kick-start International Women’s Day and #pressforprogress. Tickets are available here

One of our first inductees is Helen Graham Matthews, born around 1857/8 and a Scottish suffragette and women’s footballer. She is known as the founder of Mrs Graham’s XI, a team widely considered to be the first British women’s football team.

This was around the time when medical professionals called for girls and women to be banned from playing and any female playing football was looked upon with disdain. One match had to be abandoned when hundreds of men ran on to the pitch. The players escaped on a bus drawn by four horses amid scenes of vandalism and fighting between spectators and police, with grumblings from those in Victorian society stating “novelty” women’s matches had no place in a “man’s game”.

We need to recognise the actions of our past Pioneers, who paved the way for all women and girls to have the right to participate in sport. Where would be without them!