Women’s sport in Victoria received a huge boost, with health promotion foundation VicHealth announcing $6.7 million in funding to get more Victorian women and girls healthy and active over the next three years.
Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Victorian Minister for Sport John Eren both backed VicHealth’s new investment to increase the profile of women’s sport and create new opportunities for Victorian women and girls to get into sport and physical activity.
Victorian Minister Hennessy: “Participation in sport and physical activity is the key to better health and wellbeing. This new funding will deliver more opportunities for women and girls to get involved in grassroots sports and physical activity.”
Victorian Minister Eren: “Victoria is the leading way when it comes to levelling the playing field for women’s sport and this funding will ensure that momentum continues – encouraging even more women and girls to play the game they love.”
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said the funding represents the organisation’s biggest ever investment in female sport, which will deliver a range of new opportunities especially designed to help Victorian women and girls to get involved in sport and physical activity – including those who’ve never played sport.
“Getting enough physical activity into our week is so important for good health and happiness. Unfortunately, not all Victorians have the same opportunities to achieve good health,” Ms Rechter said.
“We know that women’s participation in organised sport is historically lower than men – in fact sport participation rates among women are half of those of men. Key barriers for women include a lack of confidence, and societal pressures of how women are told they should look.
“We’re working with a wide range of sports organisations – from netball and cricket, to frisbee and lawn bowls – to deliver new and modified programs that address the barriers women face when trying to get active.
“We’re hoping to encourage more than 23,000 women to become physically active in whatever way, shape or manner they choose.”
VicHealth will also partner with 13 sporting organisations to continue to raise the profile of women’s sport and tackle key barriers for women being active by promoting VicHealth’s upcoming This Girl Can campaign to their fans and grassroots clubs. The campaign aims to inspire and support women and girls to get active no matter how they look, how well they do it, or how sweaty they get.
“A recent VicHealth survey found that nearly three quarters (74%) of Victorians believe seeing women play sport at an elite level motivates women and girls to get physically active, highlighting the importance of raising the profile of women’s sport,” Ms Rechter said.
“Celebrating sportswomen and sportsmen equally sends such an important message – that everyone can be active, regardless of their gender. We want more Victorians knowing that women’s sport matters, and we want to inspire more women and girls to get physically active and involved in sport, throughout their life.
“Increasing gender equality and female participation in sport benefits us all, from the girls who get to continue playing sport all the way to elite levels just like their brothers, to the local clubs whose community is enriched by having more women and girls involved.”
As part of the new program, all funded sporting organisations will sign a VicHealth Gender Equality in Sport Leadership Pledge, demonstrating their commitment to achieving gender balance in all their public events and marketing of their organisation, and prioritising access for women and girls in all facilities they use.