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Building on Success to Create Greater Participation by Women in Sport

......Participation by women and girls in sport falls significantly in the late teenage and young adult years.

The Chairman of Victoria's peak sports body Vicsport today said it was important to build on the development of women's achievements in football, cricket, soccer and netball to lift participation and recognition of women in all sports.

>Participation by women and girls in sport falls significantly in the late teenage and young adult years and twice as many men as women participate in sport by their 30s, 40s and beyond.* 1

Chairman of Vicsport, Margot Foster AM, herself an Olympic bronze medallist in rowing, said the growth of opportunities for women to play traditionally male sports has provided a major boost in publicity and awareness of opportunities emerging in an increasing number of sports for women.

"Currently in Victoria over 3.25 million Victorians play sport or are engaged in active recreation which involves 580,000 volunteers, 100 Sporting Associations and 16,000 clubs. *1

"In early 2017, the success of the women's competitions in footy, cricket, soccer and netball has been truly remarkable."

Ms Foster said the focus on the women who play these sports needs to be matched for all the other women and girls who participate in sports of their choice from rowing to running, from ten pin bowling to taekwondo, from baseball to basketball and from swimming to squash - and every sport in between.

The success of the women playing sport, whether high or low profile, provides aspiring girls and women with shining examples of what they could be and what they might aspire to be or do.

"I completely understand the enthusiasm to play footy."

"In my teens I wanted to be a surf life saver and compete in the ski, the swim and the board but it was a no-go for women and girls, just like footy has been until now. At the time the only place for women was the surf club women's auxiliary committee, looking after the needs of the chaps," said Ms Foster.

"I was fortunate that rowing for women had become an Olympic discipline in 1976 and I took to it like a duck to water".

"Media coverage, including significant social media, of these exciting developments in women's sport has provided young people with a personal connection to the expanding opportunities in sport and a way of entering the conversation - and the game.

"Not only have these developments created more and better pathways in these mainstream sports to a partially remunerated, quasi professional level, they have also been an important example of sporting bodies, clubs and administrators working together to embrace the change with enthusiastic support from the community.

"At all levels of sport, from the elite to local country and suburban clubs, women have an active involvement as part of the team not only on the field but also as administrators, coaches, officials and in fundraising," Ms Foster added.

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Vicsport - Mobile: 0417 329 201

1 Valuing Sport and Recreation a framework for the future background information
Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services December 2016

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