Published: 15 Oct 2021
Please note: Images in this article were taken before current COVID-19 safety measures were in place.
Gippsland women working and volunteering in sport and active recreation are changing the game with support from the Victorian Government.
Regional Sports Assembly GippSport received a $60,000 grant to take part in the pilot of the Change Our Game Regional Governance Program, which aimed to build the knowledge, skills and abilities of women in regional communities.
From this opportunity, the Changing Gippsland’s Game – a mentoring and leadership program for women working and volunteering in sport and recreation – was created, with 18 women benefiting from activities to enhance career pathways in sport as well as networking opportunities and peer support.
Additionally, GippSport staff Michelle Harris and Amelia Evison have delivered training to 44 volunteers in Gippsland after completing a “train the trainer” program, which provides skills and knowledge to women working and volunteering in sport. The training program is expected to support a further 16 volunteers by the end of June.
The funding is part of the Victorian Government’s $7.2 million commitment to level the playing field for women and girls on and off the field from grassroots through to leadership roles.
In late 2015, the Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation presented nine recommendations to increase women’s participation and leadership in sport.
The inquiry also outlined a way forward, helping change and improve sport and recreation for all involved. The Victorian Government has accepted all nine recommendations and is working on improving these issues.
The sport and active recreation sector, state and local governments and other partners across Victoria are now actively working together to bring about this change.
Having strong partners is key. Change Our Game is a rally cry to ignite an undeniable desire among women and men who want to see their sport and recreation activities prosper into the future.
The program includes the highly successful Change Our Game Scholarship Program which supports women to pursue leadership and professional development opportunities across all levels of the sector.
Scholarships range in value from $2000 to $10,000 and nominations are open to all recognised state sport and recreation bodies, local government authorities and regional sports assemblies.
Women and girls make up just over half of the Victorian population, and we know through academic graduation rates and other measures that women have skills, knowledge and experience that are equal to men.
Yet the overwhelming finding of the inquiry is that women are under-represented in leadership roles in the sport and active recreation sector, something which Changing Gippsland’s Game is helping solve.