Gender Equality - Life Goals

The gender gap in sport is slowly closing.

There's still a bit of work that needs to be done in this space until we can call it an even playing field, but for the most part, it's on the move... and in a big way.

On a national level, female athletes are hijacking our tv screens, consuming internet data on our phones and doing back-flips (literally) whilst putting on a display of sporting excellence for the world to sit back and watch in awe and admiration.

Statewide, the story continues. 12-year-old Victorian Genevieve Beacom made history last month and became the first female to represent Australia at a World Series in the United States. The left-handed pitcher from Cheltenham Baseball Club clearly turning her childhood dream into a reality.

Samm Kerr doing a backflip after scoring the match winning goal against Brazil last month

Melbourne girl Genevieve Beacom at the Cal Ripken World Series in the US

They say if you campaign loud enough and long enough for something, people will hear you. When you have the words 'women' 'sport'' and 'equality' in the same sentence, it's hard for a conversation of this tone to fall on deaf ears.

Thankfully, change has arrived and the opportunity for Victorian women to be supported and equal in opportunities at sporting clubs was welcomed by the State Government last month with the announcement of $6.7 million in funding over 3 years to a number of State Sporting Associations.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter, The Hon. John Eren, Minister for Sport and The Hon. Jill Hennessy Minister for Health

The push to encourage more Victorian women and girls to be active has been on the cards for a while now and safe to say, we are now seeing more women on netball courts, running tracks and cricket pitches than ever before. What was once an almost unattainable dream for so many women, is now a fast-tracked reality.

Encouraging women to be fit and healthy is 100 percent top of the agenda and for those clubs receiving the funding, the buck doesn't stop there. Providing a safe and welcoming space for women is just as important, if not more. It's about giving women the same opportunities as men - providing change rooms, access to club facilities and scheduled training times to accommodate women with families and jobs.

So how does a sporting organisation become more welcoming to women and girls to improve the culture at club level?

To quote and old saying ‘a little goes a long way”. When it comes to match fixtures for example, scheduling women's matches on weekends at peak times will draw a crowd giving women the confidence to know they are valued by their organisation and in turn will enhance performance.

We all know sport is the perfect vehicle to promote social inclusion and cohesion. This concept is not new and today, women are turning to sport for a sense of belonging and comradery. Along with receiving funding, CEO's and senior management of the SSAs signed the VicHealth Gender Equality in Sport Leadership Pledge demonstrating their commitment to achieving gender balance at their organisations. Whether you're a premiership CEO at an AFL club or an Operations Manager at a State Sporting Association, the message is the same - give women every opportunity for a shot at success.

Richmond CEO Brendan Gale signing the VicHealth Gender Equality in Sport Leadership Pledge

Cat Phillips competes in Ultimate (Frisbee) Victoria and plays for the Melbourne Football Club in the AFLW says, “Looking at all the things I’ve taken out of playing sport, I feel more confident, happier and active and I want all young girls to have that growing up.”

Vicsport has launched a suite of online resources to provide guidance for grassroots clubs to make their sport more welcoming and inclusive for women and girls. To view the resources, click here.

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