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You Don't Need To Be Andy Murray To Recognise And Support The Achievements Of Women

16/08/2016 11:10 | Updated 16 August 2016
© London Entertainment / Alamy

They say that behind every strong woman is another strong woman, and when it comes to me, my mother is the strongest woman I know.

She's fierce, funny, resilient - an absolute force of nature. There is no achievement of mine that has been attained without her support or influence.

But as integral as my mother has been in my success and my life, there has been an equally important champion, who rarely gets a mention, yet has been the backbone of everything.

My dad.

I always thought that I never needed my father's approval for anything, mainly because he's a lot quieter than myself and my mother, and he rarely voices his disapproval. (The last time was at my tattoos but y'know, dads).

But actually, the biggest thing I have unknowingly learned from him is that there aren't really any limits to what I can do. He firmly believes that a woman can do anything a man does. Beyond this, he also believes that a person, male or female, should be happy and love what they do.

As a guiding compass, this ethos has pretty much set me up for life.

We talk a lot about the importance of strong women when it comes to gender equality, but men are as important when it comes to supporting women, as Andy Murray proved, when he corrected John Inverdale who commented that Murray was the first person to win two Olympic golds in tennis.

Murray responded perfectly: ""Venus and Serena have won about four each."

Perhaps I'm reading too much into Murray's comment. But it was extremely powerful first, because he quietly reinforced his fellow female tennis player's achievements, and second, it rejected the easiness of male privilege despite working in an industry that is so heavily gender biased.

Although Murray is probably the most high profile defender of women in the Olympics, a shout out must go to all of the men who piled in during the many face-palm moments of sexism from female athlete Corey Cogdell was referred as 'wife of a Bears linesman' by the Chicago Tribune to NBC crediting Katinka Hosszu's husband, Shane Tusup, for her record-breaking win.

What we need is more of this. It doesn't have to be grand, sweeping gestures or even comments on national TV (although that would be great).

What we need from men most, is their support in the smallest of moments - from meetings in the boardroom to banter in the pub. When someone says something sexist or renders women invisible, please say something about it.

We know it's really easy to do the comfortable thing, and the easy thing especially when the world works in your favour. It's much harder to be consciously part of the conversations around gender equality.

Believing women are equal to men makes you a good man. But being an active participant and championing the women in your life will make you a great one.

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