As International Women’s Day today aims to get the world talking about how to #EmbraceEquity, we talk to photographer Marie-Anne Ventoura, who has been helping us to deliver our gender parity mission.

It is our commitment to achieve gender parity in our sport and the following statement sets out how we will do this:

To achieve gender parity, we will have an unapologetic focus on increasing the numbers of women and girls involved in the game, making table tennis a space where women and girls feel welcomed, valued, visible and have the opportunity to progress. 

One part of this commitment is to increase the visibility of female players and, thanks to Sport England partnership investment, we have been working with Marie-Anne to achieve this.

Here, Marie-Anne (pictured above) talks about how she has been using her photographic skills to help us deliver on our promise – and chooses her favourite photos from those she has taken so far.

Why did you want to take on this project with us? Why is the work we are doing to increase the visibility of women in table tennis important?

It’s a great project. I love creating beautiful imagery to inspire table tennis women and girls, to show them how much fun they can have or how proud they can feel winning competitions. Sport is a reflection of society, so it is up to everyone, including sports professionals, coaches, parents, artists and creatives to make it more inclusive.

From your experience visiting our different projects and photographing our participants, is table tennis a sport that does or can, embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion of women?

Yes, table tennis is a very popular and accessible sport and one where girls and boys often get to play together. So, it’s important to build on this and invest in people, talent and infrastructure to make table tennis truly inclusive.

What has been your favourite photoshoot/group to visit that demonstrates the power of equity within table tennis?

I loved capturing the passion, drama and emotions at the Women’s British League, but I also really enjoyed visiting small clubs where everyone from different gender, ages and abilities play and have fun together. I’m already looking forward to my next photoshoot and throwing buckets of table tennis balls at people! 

What are your favourite photos among those you have taken for us, and why?

They look happy and confident, and a little bit like warriors too!
Any excuse to have fun around the table
I love all the serve photos, the concentration. It’s a magical moment, full of grace

Table Tennis England’s commitment to gender parity stretches far beyond the use of powerful imagery. Among the other initiatives we have implemented are: Women and girls’ tournaments; research into what would attract female players to the sport and keep them playing; girls-only TT Kidz sessions; creation of a new online community for female players; the women and girls’ ambassador programme; celebrating female volunteers in the Pride of Table Tennis Awards.

You can read more about these and other initiatives by clicking here.

The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. Read more about this here