WHY are fewer young women in central Victoria engaged in sports by their late teens?
The local Regional Sports Assembly, Sports Focus, is seeking answers as part of a statewide effort to make sports and physical activity more accessible and attractive.
VicHealth’s $4.5 million investment targets teenagers, women, and gender equality in sports clubs.
The funding will be shared by the state’s nine Regional Sports Assemblies over three years.
Sports Focus business manager Stuart Craig said some of the funding would be used to continue Miss Me-Time, a series of free and child-friendly activities for women.
Related: Bendigo women offered some me-time
Activities are low-impact and participants do not have to book to attend. They can simply drop in to sessions.
Mr Craig said Miss Me-Time aimed to bring women together and to provide a fun and supportive environment for physical activity.
He said Sports Focus would also be using its share of the funding to explore why young women were ‘dropping out’ of sports from about 15 years of age.
“We do have an issue with motivating young women to play,” Mr Craig said.
Statewide, VicHealth chief executive Jerril Rechter said more than 90 per cent of teenagers weren’t getting an hour of physical activity a day and half of teens dropped out of sport when they turned 15.
“We know sports clubs want to get more people in their community involved in their sport, which is why we’re working with them to make their clubs more accessible to everyone – regardless of their gender, age, ability, cultural background or what they look like,” Ms Rechter said.
By researching why young women were disengaging from sport, Mr Craig said Sports Focus aimed to identify avenues to encourage or retain interest in physical activity and provide options within the community.
The Regional Sports Assembly will also work with 15 clubs throughout the Loddon Campaspe on inclusion and gender equity.
VicHealth’s funding ties into the broader This Girl Can – Victoria campaign.
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