Governance, Inclusion, Organisation, Research

BENEFITS OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN GRASSROOTS SPORT CAMPAIGN


In 2014 Vicsport initiated the Are You On Board? (AYOB) Campaign to support conversation and action around gender diversity on Victorian SSA boards. This year, Vicsport will develop three further campaigns to raise awareness and assist sports to disseminate messages on the benefits of diversity and inclusion in Victorian grassroots sport organisations.

As part of the Are You On Board Campaign , Vicsport created and compiled tools to help SSA CEOs, Presidents and Board Members to put gender diversity on the agenda and take action. Since its release, the AYOB clip has been viewed hundreds of times and is now embedded into all Vicsport board training offerings. Vicsport will be releasing an additional number of short videos focused on:

  • The benefits of diversity on committees in grassroots sport
  • The benefits of being involved in sport for people with a disability
  • The benefits to clubs and associations of strengthen welcoming and inclusive practice

As with the initial Campaign, each clip will be supported by a Call to Action outlining simple steps that clubs and associations can undertake to initiate or continue their inclusion journey.

Why focus on diversity and inclusion?

50.6%[1] of Australia’s estimated 23,773,489[2] population is female, however only 8% of females aged over 15 are involved in organised sport or physical activity in a non-playing capacity[3]. While further ABS data indicates that 48.7% of committee members or administrators in sport and recreation nationally are women[4], there is still no clear picture as to just how this looks at a grassroots level for local clubs and associations. Evidence outlining the participation of People with a Disability, Indigenous, Culturally & Linguistically Diverse individuals in key decision making positions within grassroots sport is even more difficult to ascertain.

On the participation front, people with a disability represent 18.5% of the total Australian population[5]  however only 23.7% participate in sport/active recreation in comparison to 68.1% of the general population[6].  Further to this, people with a disability are on average 15% less likely to participate in sport and active recreation than the general population.[7]  Many individuals with a disability do not regard their impairment as the major reason for non-participation.[8] But perceptions or experiences of sport not being welcoming and inclusive for people with a disability are barriers.[9]

What are the benefits of diversity and inclusion?

In addition to the well documented benefits of sport participation for individual’s physical and mental health, sport has been found to be an excellent vehicle for building confidence and connecting people into the community.[10] Research shows that involvement in sport can help reinforce social networks and sustain community interaction.[11]

Ensuring that inclusion is addressed and opportunities for everyone to participate in sport are provided is everyone’s responsibility. For this change to be sustainable, it needs to occur at the decision making level and become embedded within the organisation. Within grassroots sport, this means focusing on club and association committees and boards, and promoting increased diversity across the individuals who hold these positions.

Evidence supporting diversity within committees and key decision making positions shows that:

  • Increased diversity of committees can result in:
    • Higher levels of fundraising success for organisations [12]
    • Improved attitudes of community members towards your organisation[13]
  • Diverse teams are more creative[14]
  • More women in leadership roles provides more motivation for women to succeed[15]. This is just as applicable for other underrepresented groups.

The next phase in the Are You On Board? Campaign aims to provide an impetus for grassroots sporting organisations to initiate or continue the conversation around diversity and inclusion by clearly outlining the benefits for individuals, sport and the community and providing simple steps that can be undertaken to start the journey. Vicsport looks forward to sharing the resources for the campaign with your organisations in the coming months and continuing to work together to grow sport within Victoria through a diverse and inclusive approach.

Fiona Jones

Sports Consultant


[1] ABS Census 2011

http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/0?opendocument&navpos=220

Accessed 26.03.15

[2] ABS Population Clock 2013

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/1647509ef7e25faaca2568a900154b63?OpenDocument  Accessed 31.03.15

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), Perspectives on Sport, Women in Sport: The state of play 2013 Catalogue 4156.0.55.00 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/4156.0.55.001Main%20Features4June%202013?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4156.0.55.001&issue=June%202013&num=&view=  Accessed 30.03.15

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2010), Involvement in Organised sport and physical activity, Catalogue 6285.0

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6285.0    Accessed 26.03.15

[5] Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2009, Disability, Australia, 2009, cat. No. 446.0, ABS, Canberra, Australia

[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) Sport and Physical Recreation: A statistical overview, cat. No. 4156.

[7] Australian Sports Commission research project, in collaboration with the University of Technology, Sydney (2010), Participation and non-participation of people with disability in sport and active recreation

[8] Australian Sports Commission research project, in collaboration with the University of Technology, Sydney (2010), Participation and non-participation of people with disability in sport and active recreation

[9] Vicsport (2014), Sport & People with a Disability Consultation Survey

[10] Australian Sports Commission 2012, Sports CONNECT Research Update, Australian Sports Commission, Canberra

[11] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), Perspectives on Sport, Women in Sport: The state of play 2013 Catalogue 4156.0.55.00

[12] VicHealth (2013), Everyone Wins Fact Sheet - Diverse representation on management committees.http://everyonewins.vic.gov.au/resources/Diverse-representation-on-management-committees  Accessed 26.03.15

[13]  VicHealth (2013), Everyone Wins Fact Sheet - Diverse representation on management committees.http://everyonewins.vic.gov.au/resources/Diverse-representation-on-management-committees  Accessed 26.03.15

[14] Marinova, Plantegna & Remery (2010) 'Gender Diversity and Firm Performance', Utrecht School of Economics

[15] McKinsey & Company (2007) ‘Women Matter: Gender Diversity, a corporate performance driver

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