Celebrating Gippsland Women who are changing the game in community sport

With support from the Victorian Government, through the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation’s Change Our Game Community Activation Grant program, GippSport’s Changing Gippsland’s Game network hosted two events to inspire local women in community sport and celebrate their work leading change across Gippsland.


The Balancing the Board – A Celebration of Women in Sport events took place in alignment with International Women’s Day for Gippsland women who work or volunteer in community sport across the region to actively celebrate, inspire, and empower leading change in the sporting landscape.


GippSport is continuing its work in support of the Victorian Government’s campaign to level the playing field regarding gender equality in community sport by building the confidence and knowledge of Gippsland women who work or volunteer in sport across the region.

Since 2018, GippSport has developed the Changing Gippsland’s Game campaign, which has focused strategically at three tiers of the system to support women & girls in sport in Gippsland:

  • A professional capacity building project & peer network for paid administrators;
  • A community focused intitiave with a leadership program designed to develop leadership skills, and a Girls forum to build capacity in the next wave of women leading sport; and
  • Good governance training to increase knowledge and capacity to confidently accept leadership positions in sporting organisations for women at a community level right now.

More than 140 women and 45 girls have participated across the three initiatives.

To recognise the participants in our program’s to date, and in alignment with the International Womens Day theme for 2022 #BreakTheBias, GippSport successfully obtained a Change Our Game Community Activation Grant from the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation. This grant enabled GippSport to celebrate local Gippsland women and their work leading change in community sport, while inspiring and empowering them to lead change in the sporting landscape.


The Balancing the Board event was concepted by our Professional Administrators network, which wanted to celebrate, promote, and inspire Gippsland women making a difference. This event would focus on highlighting inspiring local women and their work leading change in sport through their committee roles.

The events were hosted at two locations, replicating the event in Maffra in Gippsland’s east and Inverloch in the region’s south-west breaking down the barrier of travel & access considering Gippsland’s vast geography.


An intrinsic part of the event was recognising and celebrating Gippsland women in community sport. Participants  of the Changing Gippsland’s Game programs, such as community leadership or good governance, were presented certificates of recognition.

A Q&A panel finished the events with speakers including:

  • Change Our Game ambassador Maddy
  • President of Gippsland Ranges Roller Derby Bodye Darvil
  • Director of Summersalt Gymnastics & AFL Victoria’s first female Football Development Officer, Chelsea Capel
  • Wellington Shire Council Recreation Officer, Sharon McGowan
  • Tennis Victoria, Gippsland Development Officer: Jade Elams
  • GippSport Executive Officer: Dan Poynton

The panel members shared stories and answered questions from the audience highlighting their ability to bring about change through their roles, as well as insights and examples of good governance practices in the local sport and recreation community.

With the intent to showcase women in Gippsland, GippSport board member Julie Foat to take on the role of MC. Julie shared her experience as the first woman to hold the Chair role for GippSport, as a member of a grassroots club committee, putting a Gippsland lens on the conversation through years of lived experience. 

We were very fortunate to have two Change Our Game Ambassadors, Madeleine (Maddy) Hogan and Monique Hanley, join us as guest speakers for the event. Both are influential women in their own right, inspiring and advocating for gender equality in the sport and recreation community.

Why Celebrate, Inspire and Empower Gippsland Women in Sport?

While there is strong momentum and drive for women’s and girls’ participation in community sport, the number of women taking on senior leadership roles in community sports remains low. From our 2021 Gippsland sports census, the data indicated that more than half of volunteers in sport are men, with women also often holding more traditional gender roles, such as canteen managers.

This is something we want to change in Gippsland community sport. To create change, we need to inspire and empower women to either take up leadership roles and support those already shaking up the system and breaking the bias.

These events highlighted the need for continued support and recognition of women in Gippsland, whether in a paid or volunteered capacity, to enable them to feel appreciated and empowered to actively lead change in our sporting landscape. Creating an environment for peer to peer networking in which people can collaborate and share the unique challenges they each face in their sport, club or association helps with driving change, and being the cheer squad in the background to keep going!

A Look at the Day's Activities

What’s next?

Recognising that change takes both time and commitment, GippSport will continue to seek the support of the Victorian Government to build on the successes of the past four years to enable more gender equality and ‘Changing Gippsland’s Game’ work.

GippSport is committed to building on our achievements to date by:

  • Continuing to provide professional training and support to women in the Gippsland sport workforce so they feel appreciated and empowered to actively lead change in Gippsland
  • Developing a deeper knowledge of the wide spectrum of challenges & barriers that influence women’s and girls’ engagement in sport at all levels and implementing the necessary reforms to level the playing field
  • Expanding the scope of our work to have a broader influence and reach across the sporting landscape. We want to see more women in leadership roles and inclusive sporting settings as a result of our efforts.
  • Delivering a suite of continuous and accessible professional development opportunities for women working in community sport in Gippsland, as well as an established and ongoing mentoring programme in the region.
  • Establishing an activation fund to support women and girls in participation in sport and physical activity
  • Implementing the findings of the Men as Allies Research project that is currently underway in partnership with Latrobe University’s Centre of Sport & Social Impact, to bring more men into the conversation and work with them to better advocate for women and girls

Are you interested in partnering with us in gender equality opportunities for the Gippsland sporting community?
Call us on 5176 3020 or email info@gippsport.com.au

Need more information?

GippSport acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we live and work, The Bunurong Peoples, Gunaikurnai Peoples and other traditional owner groups of the Gippsland/East Gippsland Region.  We recognise their ongoing connection to the land, waters and community, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and the ongoing living culture of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.

GippSport is committed to making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and working in solidarity towards reconciliation.

GippSport – Gippsland Sports Assembly Inc.
PO Box 741, Traralgon, VIC, Australia 3844
Traralgon Sports Stadium, Catterick Cres, Traralgon