AU Officer Benthe Tanghe wins fight for gender inclusive sportswear

A huge win for our AU Officer as she approaches the end of her term

Tom Moorcroft
24th May 2021
Benthe Tanghe modelling the first Canterbury stadium jacket produced in women’s sizes
The Courier is pleased to announce that, as the result of an article published in September outlining the issue of Newcastle's one-gendered sportswear, Canterbury have released a female orientated range for Newcastle University.

After the tireless efforts of Benthe Tanghe, our Athletic Union Officer, and talks with the Pentland Group, parent company of Canterbury, this new sportswear will be made available for athletes at Newcastle University. There are 16 styles in the new range, of which 12 have a female equivalent available. All are available from next academic year for all clubs.

Canterbury has been the official kit supplier of Team Newcastle since 1 April 2018. With this news in mind, the contract was extended early this year until 21 March 2022.

We approached the Pentland Group to learn more about their decision to release non-male sportswear.

How long do you anticipate working with Newcastle as our sportswear distributor?

We work with a number of Universities across the UK and we pride ourselves on the length of partnerships that we have with them. Having recently extended our time with Newcastle University, we are confident that our working relationship will continue for many years to come. We love being a part of the identity the students create while on campus and believe that sport is an integral part of university life.

Do you work with other Universities? If so, do they all have gender equal sportswear like the clothing just released at Newcastle?

The decisions on chosen products are made in conjunction with University Directors of Sports Services, Athletic Unions, our Stockists and the brand.

The new Club range which Newcastle University have selected to wear is being introduced to all of our education customers, University & School level, this year who purchase our stock teamwear offering

Our product team is focusing a lot of time and energy into the development of female-specific products and have been working closely with female rugby teams on specific products to make sure we are providing the right kit which works for them. This includes taking onboard feedback from the players and incorporating this into our final designs – including from the players at Newcastle University. This has resulted in improvements and we are pleased to be able to return within six months with a range of products which has been exceptionally well received.

Do you have a message you'd like to send to non-male Newcastle University athletes ahead of the clothing launch?

At Canterbury we are committed to providing premium kit for all players, at all levels, covering all aspects of the sport. We have listened to our customers and have made great strides in recent times to ensure that the vast majority of our range is suitable for female teams as well as men’s.

Benthe Tanghe, in response to this huge win for Team Newcastle, had this to say to The Courier.

“In my year as Athletic Union Officer, it has been my priority to make real, lasting change, and to make Team Newcastle more inclusive, accessible and united. After multiple meetings with representatives from the Pentland Group this year, it was fantastic to have them visit a few weeks ago to showcase the new kit.”

“75% of the new range is now more inclusive, and my hope is that this will have a genuine impact: the kit will no longer be a barrier to feeling confident and comfortable for those who don’t present as male as they perform and succeed in sport. I’m also delighted that these efforts have not only been introduced to our students, but to all Universities and schools that Canterbury works with.”

“It is a continuing process for Canterbury to fully make this change, but also for Team Newcastle to continue to strive for diversity, equality and representation across all our clubs. I am proud to have been able to make strides towards this goal.”

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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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  1. Wot??? This article has no information. Are you saying you've introduced skirts for the girls football team? No idea.

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