Throughout the month of April 2014, at five locations across Gippsland, over 150 people learnt more about gender equality and what this could mean in their sporting clubs. Gender equality ensures women and girls have the same opportunities for club involvement as men and boys. These forums were jointly facilitated by Gippsland Women’s Health Service and GippSport.
Phil Cleary was the guest speaker at each of the forums. Phil played 205 games with Coburg in the VFA (now VFL) and is a premiership player (1979) and dual premiership coach (1988/89). He is the author of three books, one of which, ‘Just another little murder’ deals with the 1987 murder of his sister by an ex-boyfriend. He currently coaches West Coburg’s Division One under 16 side and has a mentoring role at the club.
Phil spoke about how gender equality helps to prevent violence against women. He gave examples at his club where women have important roles that in the past men would have held. These include being the head statistician at his club.
Each of the forums was held at a local football netball club and Phil would cast is eye around the room at the trophies and photographs and ask ‘where were the women’s’? This brought a range of responses including ‘we will get onto that tomorrow’ to ‘they are round the corner’.
So what can clubs do and what resources are available?
· GippSport and Gippsland Women’s Health Services have a program called 50/50 clubs that includes a ‘gender’ checklist for clubs to complete, so join the program.
· Ensure photographs and trophies for both genders are on display.
· Balance applications for grants that provide uniforms and equipment for both genders.
· Work with the media to get equal coverage of your players and volunteers.
· Have your end of season presentations together and be respectful of each other’s presentations.
· Communicate your code of conduct and make sure it disallows sexist comments, put downs of women and girls, offensive posters and language and it is enforced.
· Encourage women and girls to do courses in coaching, officiating and sports training at your club.
· Roster both genders on canteen duty, gate duty, cleaning and any of the many volunteer roles.
· Hold a White Ribbon Day on 25 November at your club or join one in your community.
Prevention of violence against women occurs in many ways. Sports clubs can take small steps within their clubs to change attitudes about violence against women. Start the conversation and if you want to do more contact GippSport.