Within the sport sector, women and girls are underrepresented within both participation and leadership. As with other areas of life, women and girls significantly contribute to all areas of sport; as players, coaches, umpires, trainers and management committee members. To ensure sport organisations have access to the widest range of skills, experience and opinions, it is important that women and girls are well represented in leadership positions. There are a range of practical actions that sport organisations can undertake to increase representation of women and girls in leadership positions.
Even when leadership roles are available, many women lack the confidence and self-belief to volunteer or apply for them. Your organisation must support, guide and help to educate females be confident to take on these roles.
Some things to consider when helping to guide women in new leadership roles include:
- Make sure that mentors are both men and women because they offer different skills and perspectives.
- Offer both informal and formal guidance. Formal guidance can appear daunting and imply time commitments. Catching up for a coffee or chatting over the phone can still be valuable for new leaders.
- Support women to develop and join networks, so they can connect with and learn from other female leaders.
- Bring together strong female leaders in your community to participate in events or networking sessions. This could be done alongside other sporting organisations, clubs, associations, local businesses, community organisations or your council e.g. a women’s breakfast event.
- Contact your State Sport Association to find out about female specific networks or mentoring programs.
Refer to this setting up a mentoring program resource for more information.
Your sport can further support women and girls through training and development opportunities. There are a range of training and development programs offered through your State Sporting Association or league/association, Vicsport, government agencies and private providers.
Your sport can help women with their training and development by:
- Working with them to identify training/skills needs.
- Helping them to find relevant courses and training opportunities.
- Subsidising training costs, helping with travel and accommodation (where required).
- Providing financial or grant support (where possible).
Cycling Victoria has developed a useful resource to help sporting organisations attract and retain women and girls. The information and tips can be used by all sports.
The Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) program provides women with development opportunities to reach their leadership potential in the sports industry.
Use this resource to evaluate your organisation’s culture and consider how it is gender inclusive and supportive of women in leadership roles.
Women on Boards is an independent organisation supporting women to take on non-executive director and other board level roles.
This page on the Australian Sport Commission’s website provides a list of companies currently supporting women’s sport in Australia.