In a new feature series, Editor Emma Ballard speaks to women from other sports to see what golf can learn. Our second interview is with Kelly Gordon from England Netball

In March 2023, England Netball launched NETBALLHer. Working with female health experts, The Well HQ, this free online women and girls health resource was made available to all to help re-write the rules and reimagine best practice around the female body’s life stages.

A year on, Editor Emma Ballard spoke to Kelly Gordon, Director of Development at England Netball, to find out why the governing body felt compelled to act in the women and girls' health space, what NETBALLHer is all about and how other sports like golf could learn a lot from the resources available.

How did England Netball develop NETBALLHer?

England Netball launched its 10 year Adventure Strategy back in 2021. Part of that strategy was to be a game for life and how we support players from five up to 95. Specifically, we looked at what motivates players to play but also the insights into when they potentially drop out of the sport.

When I looked at it, there was a common theme on dropout associated with key life stages, so dropout at puberty, postnatal and menopause, but we weren’t doing anything about it. When I asked around, no other sports were really doing anything about that. It was almost the blindingly obvious reasons why women and girls were dropping out of our sport but were never really addressed.

Our participation programmes, such as Back to Netball and Walking Netball are industry leading ,but actually they weren’t getting to the crux of why women and girls were dropping out of the sport and what we could do about it. Particularly when these programmes cater for postnatal and menopausal women.

So we decided to do something about it. That's when I started having conversations with The Well HQ because as a governing body of sports, we're not female health experts. We knew that we needed to have experts to lean on and provide us with medically sound advice and be able to write our resources.

NETBALLHer menopause
NETBALLHer free online support and infographics

Why is NETBALLHer so important to England Netball?

The key thing for NETBALLHer is that it’s more than just a resource, a website ( and an online Learning Offer. It’s our whole approach as a governing body to change the system for women and girls. If you look at why girls and women are dropping out, it’s because the system isn’t set up to support them.

In netball’s case, the facilities aren’t in the right place or open at the right times, or open at all, like floodlighting on courts, poor access to facilities or dark car parks and no access to period products.

The Well HQ is a big partner of ours in terms of the medical and scientific support but NETBALLHer is our approach to developing and supporting members and non-netballers.

The other side for England Netball is not only to help stop players dropping out of the sport because they don’t feel supported to stay, but to welcome new people into the sport because they see it as a female sport they want to be part of and belong to.

The final outcome is around driving our visibility as the leading female sport in this space. It's actually putting netball in a place where we've never been before in terms of talking about female sport and talking about things that need to change.

Image credit: Ben Lumley

You could have kept this wonderful resource just for netball, what made England Netball decide to share this information with everyone?

We definitely debated it but essentially if we want to be a sport that wants to welcome new audiences and but has a closed website that wasn’t being very inclusive. Also, it has given us a bigger profile and reached many more people. That wouldn’t have happened if we had just been netball talking to netballers.

It allowed us to have those conversations, to be that voice and have that visibility, which gives us more in terms of social value or monetary value than it would if it was just talking to members. And then as I say that it expands us to new audiences.

However, we still needed to have a unique proposition for our members and staff. So, in partnership with The Well HQ, we developed the NETBALLHer online learning offer. This is free learning for members only.  There are four modules – female body course, puberty, pre and postnatal, and menopause. Each course is three hours long and broken down into 10 minute videos. It's built to be learning on the go.  This is an incredible member benefit available directly to our members for free via a closed paywall.

The third area we have is a closed community Facebook page, which is off the website, but you have to be a member to join. It’s a space for sharing ideas and talking to one another.

We have found that this balance of things has worked very well and I would encourage anyone to come to the NETBALLHer website and take advantage of all the great information and resources we have there.

Pelvic floor NETBALLHer

Did you feel that as a predominately female sport you had a responsibility to take the lead in the female health space?

We want to lead the movement on and beyond the court. If any sport should be doing it, then it should be netball. We are a predominately female sport and we have the responsibility to do that. It also helps us to raise the sport’s profile and become a leading voice.

I definitely feel that we do quite a lot in isolation in sports and there is often not much collaboration. I think we could be so much more powerful working together than on our own, doing our own thing and developing our own resources.  It would make much more sense, and make a bigger difference, if we centralised our resources and our support. Collectively we would be a louder voice in changing the system for women and girls.  I’m really rally for that at Sport England.

How do you do more with NETBALLHer beyond the website and learning platform?

NETBALLHer needs to be embedded in everything we do. For example, with our Back to Netball programme, we've got NETBALLHer content all the way through. By that, I mean a group of women will turn up at the first session, and they'll have pelvic floor exercises as part of their warmup, and then maybe the second session they'll talk about nutrition and just real basic stuff, not giving the lecture just in the chat.

We’re also working with leagues to see how they can potentially build in menopause workshops, making sure they've got period products and at least making sure that toilets are open.

NETBALLHer is also embedded in our major events. For example, at the Vitality Netball Nations Cup earlier this year, we had NETBALLHer on the LED boards, female health stories in the programme and Here We Flow products and NETBALLHer infographics in the toilets. This hadn’t been done before at these arenas. To me, that's embedding which is actually making a meaningful difference on the ground. It's not just a standalone thing.

Netball court
Image credit: Ben Lumley

At England Netball we have developed a Female Health Policy for our staff.  We also encourage all staff to complete the Female Body module of the NETBALLHer learning offer.  It is important that we are supporting and educating our own workforce about female health. We can't talk about supporting females, if we don't talk about supporting our own workforce.

We do have a predominately female workforce but we also have amazing men that work for England Netball and they have fully embraced learning about female health and how they can best support their colleagues, friends and family. It is really important for to have male allies - they can be agents of change for girls and women in sport, and in life.

We have recently won the ‘Female Health Advocate of the Year Award’ at the Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards. This award recognises outstanding efforts in creating a supportive and inclusive environment and unique health needs of women in the workplace.

Can you tell us some future plans for NETBALLHer?

Community Netball
Image credit: Ben Lumley

In terms of next steps, we know that we can only go so far in terms of a national resource. So have recently welcomed nine regional NETBALLHer Champions who are all volunteers. The idea is that we’ll then set up a full network including county and local champions. It’s the only way we’re going to create the movement. So to me, a big one next year is around setting up the NETBALLHer champion network.

Secondly it's about expanding the content on the website to be more diverse and inclusive. There's a lack of research into women's health anyway, but there's even less research into health inequalities. We know the information we're putting out on NETBALLHer is quite one size fits all and our audience isn't one size fits all. So we've got to adapt that content.  

The third part is inclusive kit, we have an inclusive kit policy for our domestic games. Clubs and leagues should be allowing anyone to play in any choice of kit and now we're looking at how we can make sure that inclusive kit is represented across the playing pathway.

If you're interested in finding out more about NETBALLHer and accessing all the FREE women's and girls' health advice, please visit

What can golf learn from other sports? We spoke to England International Lawn Bowler Sian Honnor about the parallels between the two sports, the drive to change perceptions and getting more women on the green. Read the full interview.