Sportsview, Industry

Welcoming women and girls to your sport. Here's how...

Helping more Victorians get active means a happier and healthier community, and getting women and girls involved in sport and recreational activities are crucial to what we do at Vicsport.

With the launch of This Girl Can – Victoria, women have been inspired to find sports and recreational activities that suit their needs and get them moving.

The desire to boost activity for women and girls is high on the agenda at State Sporting Associations, Regional Sport Assemblies and Local Government Authorities but the overreaching question is, how?

To start, fitness needs to be fun, social and approachable for women to want to take part. The concept of 'one size fits all' approach feeds into the psychology that women need to fit into a certain mould to play sport. This Girl Can aims to prove otherwise.

Vicsport and VicHealth have developed a suite of resources aimed at breaking down barriers that prevent women and girls from being active, and ideally, keep them coming back for more. These resources can assist sporting organisations to learn, grow and understand how to implement better systems and procedures to welcome women and girls. Resources can be found on the Healthy and Welcoming Sport page on the Vicsport website.

Below are a few tips on how sporting organisations can improve their practices to make women and girls feel more welcome when playing sport. A major focus on how women and girls view sport is through how it’s marketed.

  • Sell the benefits, not the sport.

Selling the activity (ie netball, football, swimming etc) doesn't always work because not all sports resinate with everyone. Instead, sell the benefits of playing sport by promoting the element of fun, friendship and social interaction that the sport provides. This will encourage women to view the sport as a vehicle for positive change in their lives.

  • Use images of REAL women

Studies show that women are inspired by other women who are relatable and carry similar characteristics to them. Avoid using stock images of women in sporty outfits as they aren’t relatable to most women. Taking pictures of women from your local sporting organisation playing sport promotes authenticity. Photos of women smiling, having fun playing sport will resonate better with your audience.

  • Build a relationship

Invest time in getting to know women in your sporting club and new audiences you may want to engage. Discuss their expectations and perhaps offer a promotion for new participants in your area. Encourage women to bring a friend; research shows that women are more inclined to take up a sport or recreational activity when they are accompanied by a buddy. Reduce the fear factor by reassuring women that they are not alone and that there are other women at different levels of sport taking up the activity too.

We encourage sporting organisations to support the This Girl Can Victoria campaign and lead the way by creating positive and welcoming environments for women and girls. All the information you need to register your organisation as a supporter of the campaign can be found of on the This Girl Can - Victoria website. This is an opportunity for your organisation to be a positive influence in supporting local communities in sport participation.

Written by Jasmine Richwol

Communications and Marketing manager - Vicsport

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