Earlier this year I attended a Sports forum hosted by Sports NSW and the presentation that really stood out for me was about a NSW Government program called Her Sport Her Way. Like many people who have worked in private enterprise for most of their working life, I’m a bit cynical about government programs but what really stood out for me was the enthusiasm that Kerry Turner from the NSW Office of Sport showed for the subject.
Since that initial presentation, I’ve been lucky enough to meet with Kerry to hear more about the Her Sport Her Way program and my cynicism has all gone. This is a great initiative. It’s well-thought-out, realistic and I’m convinced will actually make some positive changes for women and girls. With people like Kerry leading the charge, it’s certainly on track.
The premise of the program is that we’ve reached a moment in time with women’s sport in NSW and it’s an opportunity to capitalise on the momentum. I believe this is led by women who are making great strides in elite sport like cricket, AFL, soccer, and netball, but it’s also having a trickle-down effect on the grassroots.
Her Sport Her Way is a four-year program that seems very grounded in research from the UK and other parts of Australia. In short, it says “For women’s sport to be successful and sustainable we need to fundamentally rethink, through a female lens, the way that sport is delivered, coached, marketed, led, sponsored, and consumed.”
The strategy identifies four pillars: Participation; Places and Spaces; Leveraging Investment; Leadership. Under each of these pillars, there are a number of activities with a total of 29 initiatives identified.
In year one the key activities are think-tanks and planning workshops; participation planning tool; a great program called Daughters and Dads program; and a Her Sport Her Way grant program.
But rather than describe all the elements of this initiative here because you can read it for yourself on the NSW Office of Sport website, I’ve actually tried out the participation planning tool. I’m the women’s coordinator of my cycling club LACC and I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved in that role over the past few years. However, after using the tool I realise I’ve got a long way to go.
One of the best things about this tool is that anyone can access it. The NSW Office of Sport has made it, and many other resources free for anyone to use which I think is great.
To use the tool you need to answer a series of questions about specific programs for women and girls, how you communicate, what facilities you have for women and girls, etc. It doesn’t take too long and is really straightforward.
After you complete the survey you then get a customised report that addresses all the categories covered. For example, I said ‘No’ to the question ‘Do you have female participation goals/strategy?’ so in my report is a brief explanation of why goals are so important. It also included several links:
- Office of Sport website page/tools for developing a strategy
- Detailed Golf Australia document outlining their vision for women and girls golf
- Gender Equity Action Plan from the Football Federation of Australia.
That’s just one example, there are plenty more. It’s a really impressive tool and I now need to spend some time digesting it.
I recommend that you check out the participation tool and other great resources on the Office of Sport website.