There She Rows: Victoria Monk

Victoria is captain and one quarter of There She Rows – an all-female team and InsightX partner – who will be undertaking an unassisted, 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic Ocean to not only challenge themselves but also to inspire the next generation of girls through sport. 

She’s also the first to be introduced in our series interviewing the crew on sport; how it is a powerful force for good, their sporting backgrounds and the impact it has had on their lives outside of their sporting careers.

Tell us a bit about your sporting background?

I’m incredibly lucky to have parents who recognise the value of sport and exercise. And so, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been playing around with bats/balls/rackets/sticks – anything that allowed me to be running around outside. I went to a school where sport was more of an afterthought – which in turn meant that anyone who was remotely interested in sport was automatically accelerated into the first team. For me, that meant I played in teams across; netball, hockey, cross-country, tennis and golf (sports such as rugby and football weren’t an option back then, but I really hope things have changed now). I quickly realised that sport was where I was at my happiest – I could be my most authentic self when surrounded by friends, all working hard for a collective goal. I was lucky enough to be assigned school Sports Captain, which I wore like a real badge of honour.


What do you think sport has taught you?

Directly or indirectly, sport has taught me the most fundamental lessons in life. It has taught me how to make friends, how to work on a team, how to lead a team, to work hard towards a collective goal, to be patient, how to swallow loses and bounce back stronger, to push boundaries, to break boundaries, to have self-belief, to have confidence, to take opportunities and chances when they are gifted to you…all of these lessons I carry with me through my personal and professional life – lessons that are certainly not fixed, they are ever evolving and sport continues to enhance and enrich my life…particularly when preparing to row across an Atlantic Ocean (having never rowed before!).


What has sport given you that you think has helped to shape your professional life?

I believe passionately in the potential for women’s sport (both cultural and commercial). Sport has gifted me so much in my life, and yet there are still so many barriers and inequalities for women in sport at every level (participation, coverage, commercialisation). I want to help influence change – to create a better world for women in sport for the next generation; on and off the field of play. It is this belief and drive to create positive change that has shaped my entire professional career. First, as a journalist at The Daily Telegraph and ESPN – championing for more women’s sport coverage, and now in my role as a marketer as Women’s Sport Lead at CSM Sport & Entertainment; consulting for brands, rights holders and athletes in my sphere of influence.

On a more granular level – sport has given me the confidence to pursue opportunities, to have the belief and commitment to drive forward opportunities and to understand how to lead a team of people toward a collective goal.


What improvements would you like to see when it comes to women’s involvement with sport?

I grew up with two younger brothers and my parents supported and encouraged all three of us to try our hands at everything – regardless of gender. It was only as I got older that I began to see inequalities emerging. No football or rugby clubs for girls and women. Sport facilities and equipment for the girls teams’ tired and neglected. I was one of the few girls in my school that regularly attended PE, most hid/avoided or made their excuses. More effort and investment needs to be channelled into sport for girls between the ages of 11-17 – a crucial time for development (more than half of girls will quit playing sport by age 17). Putting the right infrastructure in place, creating environments where girls feel like sport is a safe and supportive space – a positive outlet as they develop through puberty, not something to be deterred from. A broader range of sports need to be open and available for women and girls of all ages – from martial arts, to rugby and dance – so that every woman is afforded the opportunity to find the sport(s) that is right for her, and hence feel its benefits for the rest of her life.

In a broader sense, there are huge positive strides being made in the women’s sport industry, but there is still a monumental amount of work to be done to achieve equality in sport. We need more coverage, more women on boards and officiating, more investment, more women’s sport at the top of the boardroom agendas. We strive for a world where sport is sport. For everyone.



Who are your female sporting heroes? 
  • Billie Jean King – for being brave, not being afraid to stand up for what she believed in, and laying down the marker as one of the first trailblazers for women’s sport (in my lifetime).
  • Serena Williams – for everything she has done, not just for women’s sport, but for sport. As an athlete, and as a mother.
  • Dame Kelly Homes – for her unwavering, understated perseverance. For being one of the first household female athlete names in the UK, and for the impact that’s had on women’s sport and female athlete representation.
  • Emma Hayes – for being one of the most influential coaches and off-pitch figures in women’s sport. A force to be reckoned with in women’s football and an admirable leader.


If you could say anything to a young girl embarking on her sporting ‘career’ / journey, what would it be?

Do it! A career in sport is fulfilling, exciting and ever-evolving. There are so many different avenues available in sport (some not as well-known as others) – there are career opportunities on the field of play, in wider coaching and support teams, nutritionists, marketeers, media, sales … the opportunities are endless. Every day I feel lucky to be working in a job I love – inspired by the people and projects I work on.

Sport is a platform to shape and influence wider society. Particularly around reshaping the roles and opportunities for women. To be able to work on something that feels much bigger than ourselves, and to hopefully leave a legacy for the next generation of women … how cool is that!



There She Rows are raising money for the Women’s Sport Trust, a leading UK charity whose aim is to raise the visibility and increase the impact of women’s sport. Find out more about our partnership with the team here.