$6.7m investment in women’s sport

AFL Victoria is hopeful the funding will inspire more women to play Australian Football.
AFL Victoria is hopeful the funding will inspire more women to play Australian Football.

UPDATE, FRIDAY: A NEW partnership between VicHealth and 13 sporting organisations will help tackle barriers for women and girls to get involved in sport and physical activity, AFL Victoria believes.

The organisation was yesterday announced as one of 13 to share in $3.8 million to promote gender equality and increase the profile of women’s sport.

This Girl Can, a new campaign to start next year, will be the vehicle for that message.

“AFL Victoria is excited to partner with VicHealth to continue our role in raising the profile of women’s sport and promoting gender equality to our members and community,” AFL Victoria chief executive, Steven Reaper, said.

“We have seen enormous growth in female football across the state in recent times, both at grass roots level, where more than 300 new female teams have been established in 2017, and via the introduction of our female state league competitions – the Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s and TAC Cup Girls.

“With the support of VicHealth, AFL Victoria aims to inspire more Victorian women and girls to get active and enjoy all the benefits that participation in sports such as Australian Football provides.”

Other sporting organisations to partner with VicHealth on the initiative include Cricket Victoria, Netball Victoria, Basketball Victoria, the Victorian Institute of Sport, Hockey Australia, Tennis Victoria, Cycling Australia, and the Victorian Olympic Council.

Further funding recipients include Melbourne Victory, Richmond Football Club, Western Bulldogs Football Club, and Melbourne City Football Club.

Eight organisations were announced as recipients sharing in a further $2.9 million for programs to boost female participation in sport, bringing the funding total to $6.7 million. 

Netball Victoria is among 13 sporting organisations partnering with VicHealth to promote women in sport. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Netball Victoria is among 13 sporting organisations partnering with VicHealth to promote women in sport. Picture: DARREN HOWE

EARLIER: SPORTING groups have welcomed a $6.7 million boost to women’s sport.

Bendigo District Cricket Association president Wayne Walsh was hopeful the funding’s influence would be felt in regional communities. 

More than 50 girls were involved in last year’s female cricket summer program.

He hoped this year’s program would be as enthusiastically received, and welcomed any funding that might help increase participation.

“It’s a great thing for women in sport, in general,” Mr Walsh said of Thursday’s announcement.

Cricket Victoria and Netball Victoria were among 13 organisations listed as recipients of funding to promote gender equality and women’s sport.

The sporting organisations will partner with VicHealth to promote the This Girl Can campaign, which aims to inspire and support girls and women to get active. 

Cricket Victoria and Netball Victoria were also among eight groups to secure additional funding for programs to increase female participation in sport.

“As the governing body for the sport of Netball in Victoria, we are looking forward to working with VicHealth to ensure this campaign is wide-reaching and there are opportunities in both metropolitan and regional areas,” Netball Victoria chief executive officer, Rosie King, said.

“We look forward to sharing more details around netball activities and programming as part of this partnership as soon as possible.”

VicHealth chief executive officer Jerril Rechter said the funding represented the organisation’s biggest investment in female sport.

“We’re hoping to encourage more than 23,000 women to become physically active in whatever way, shape or manner they choose,” she said.

All 13 organisations funded as part of the Active Women and Girls for Health and Wellbeing program will sign a VicHealth Gender Equality in Sport Leadership Pledge.

Each signatory will commit to achieving gender balance in public events and marketing, and prioritising access for women and girls in all facilities they use.

The announcement coincides with the launch of the VicSport Healthy and Welcoming Sport website, intended to help grassroots clubs to become more inclusive.