Retired from professional sport, the former water polo player Jennifer Pareja is working on a new dream with Iberdrola: the fight to give women's sports more visibility. We talked to her about her new life project.
INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER PAREJA, WOMEN'S WATER POLO PLAYER
"Women's sports is spectacular, just like men's"
Retired from professional sport, Jennifer Pareja is working on a new dream with Iberdrola: the fight to give women's sports more visibility. Jennifer was everything for water polo: Best water polo player in the world and Europe in 2013, world champion in 2013 and European champion in 2014, Olympic runner-up in 2012... We talked to her about her new life project.
What is the way forward to reach equality for women in sport, both amateur and professional?
Although there has been progress in recent years and there is less inequality, there is still a way to go. I think that the key is in social change: boys do sports to be like Messi or Ronaldo and girls do it to look and feel good. We have to change this idea and change girls' way of thinking: we can be athletes and we want to be athletes.
And how can we achieve the same visibility of women's sports in society and the media?
This is one of the greatest challenges that we still face. We have to show society that women's sports is spectacular, just like men's. It's a matter of education and I think that the media should get more involved, giving continuous coverage to women's sports and not reducing it to just special occasions.
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What's the relationship between health and sport amongst women?
The fact that sport means health has been heavily studied and proven. Everyone knows that doing sport has physical and psychological benefits. Personally, I need to do sport every day.
And going back to the previous question, what benefits does woman's health have on its path to take its rightful place in society?
Social change starts with sport and we must use this to change the image of women in society. For many years, women have been absent from the important positions in politics, business and society. In the most recent championships, the biggest successes have been from women, which means that we are more than capable of taking on any position of responsibility.
What does it mean for you to be the ambassador of the Woman, Health and Sport Programme?
I went through a really difficult time when I retired from professional sport because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. And then the opportunity came along to be an ambassador of Iberdrola, which has made another dream come true and has given me the opportunity to do what I like the most: fight for and promote women's sports.
Jennifer Pareja during one of the stages of the 'Women, Health and Sport Tour'.