Women in sport and gender equality in sporting clubs

Peta Searle recently made history when she was appointed as a Development Coach for AFL club St Kilda. It is the highest a female has climbed in AFL coaching ranks. Searle was the first woman appointed to a VFL assistant coaching role but walked away feeling disillusioned by the lack of opportunities to progress. She has been offered an eighteen month contract and will report to the Head of Development at St Kilda.

Another development in “club land” is the elevation of women into leadership positions at committee level which is very welcome. This will assist in clubs building a positive reputation for being safe, family oriented and welcoming to all people in the community ensuring strength into the future.

GippSport in partnership with the Gippsland Women’s Health Service is making available a 50/50 Clubs Program to work towards the Prevention of Men’s Violence Against Women and Children. It will assist clubs in ensuring that their club environment is safe, welcoming and inclusive of women and girls, and that the club does not tolerate attitudinal support of violence against women and children.

Community sporting clubs play an important role in people’s lives. Sport can impact wider community values and can promote diversity and respectful relationships between all people, no matter their race, gender, ability or sexual orientation.

Clubs interested in rolling out this free program will receive training, complete a gender audit, educational resources and there will be undoubted benefits to the club. Violence against women awareness training information session will be provided to club members. Mentors in Violence Prevention training will be provided to ‘champions’ and other leaders in the club to increase their capacity to recognize and respond to violence supportive attitudes.

A gender audit of the club using the 50/50 clubs checklist and discussion around codes of conduct will be completed. Based on results of the gender audit, the club will be encouraged to make positive changes to overcome barriers to women and girls participating at all levels and to ensure the club is safe and welcoming to women and girls.

Posters, brochures and other resources with information on family violence support services and simple processes for supporting someone who may be experiencing violence, will be supplied. Material promoting key messages around gender equality will be provided. Project workers from GippSport and the Gippsland Women’s Health Service will be available to support the club throughout the project.  Please contact us if you are interested in this great program.

Barry_WebBarry Switzer
Executive Officer