My beauty, with a purpose, is to unconditionally support women in sport. I am in love with
Taekwondo (TKD); rawness, individualism, and perseverance are words that come to mind when
reflecting on my past interactions with such an elegant sport.
However, through all my accomplishments, there was always the subtle and ominous, yet extremely
evident, sense I was always looked down upon; this perception was due to my gender, not my
athletic ability. Being an athlete is difficult. Being a female athlete is difficult. Being a female athlete,
competing on the world stage in a stereotypically labeled “fighting” sport is arduous.
To paint a picture:
In YEAR, I received a tweet from Canada’s TDK wishing me congratulations for winning
Canada’s first gold medal of the day at the Commonwealth Games. My teammate, and
lifelong friend had just lost his semi-final fight, concluding his tournament with a bronze
medal. Following the presentation of his medal were interviews, posts flooded on ever
Instagram feed, and overwhelming support, projecting him onto a pedestal of praise.
Although I was incredibly proud of him and partook in celebrations with him, I could not help
but feel flustered. I left the arena early to recover from an injury that prevented prolonged
standing. The subsequent day I was, nonchalantly, handed a glass plaque. To my surprise,
when I read the plaque, I was named female MVP. My hard work had paid off and I had not
feelings of pride within myself. The only thought pacing around in my mind was a quote from
Charlotte Elizabeth Whitton (Mayor of Ottawa from 1951-1956): “Whatever women do, they
must do twice as well as a man, just to be thought of as half as good”.
The opportunity to compete on a global stage exposed me to the harsh reality that women are often
seen as second tier in the sporting community. This viewpoint limits the growth of today’s generation
of young women. If I am able to alter this viewpoint to foster more confident women, I will.
Since being selected as a Miss World Canada delegate I have been using my title to teach TKD
classes to children at local community centers and self-defense for women and men at Ryerson
University. If rewarded a grant, I plan to teach self-defense to girls in low income areas. The world is
such a frightening place and the sad reality is it is often not safe for young women.
I often think how one little action or piece of information, a large majority of these tragic events could
be prevented. Community centers, schools and even after care programs should all be teaching selfdefense to children. Not only does it keep them safe and aware of how to approach altering
circumstances, they’ll also be taught discipline and what respect truly means. I would be more than
delighted to teach children what I have personally learned over the past 10 years from my sport, and
I would be more than honored to see what they, in return, teach me. One class that I had thought at
a Montessori school changed my teaching experience forever:
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Promoting Women in Sport Andrea Jerom – Promoting Women in Sport
To incentivize students at the end of a class, we would part take in “board breaking”, asking
the students to write down what they fear most on each board. Afterwards, we physically
broke the board to symbolize the metaphoric breaking of those fears. Most boards were quite
generic, listing what I would describe as rational or not uncommon fears (e.g. spiders, the
dark, snakes etc.). I was stopped in my tracks when I came across a very specific board,
written by one of the little girls in the class which read: “bullies”. My heart immediately
dropped to my stomach. I carefully inquired with her to learn more and she informed me that
she routinely is bullied by her class mates for “looking funny”. I fought back the tears as hard
as I could and told her that she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and that I had
mistaken her for a princess. To see her smile widen and eyes glow meant the world to me.
The setting of influence as described above is my passion now. Encouraging others (specifically
women) is my passion now. Above all, meeting all princesses of Canada is my passion now.