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Diversity won’t be achieved without bold and practical action. That was the conclusion of the advisory panel that included Insync Executive Chairman, Nicholas Barnett. And that was why the panel decided at the outset that its recommendations to the Minister needed to be both bold and practical.
The Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation was established in late 2014 to advise the Victorian Minister for Sport on practical actions that the sport and active recreation sector could adopt to enhance participation by women and girls and to increase their engagement in leadership and governance roles.
The advisory panel that advised the Minister consisted of nine prominent sports industry representatives, was chaired by Peggy O’Neal and included passionate diversity campaigner, Nicholas Barnett. The panel engaged widely with the sport and active recreation community and also engaged senior leaders from other industries.
The sports sector in Victoria, and for that matter in Australia, is dominated by men. The majority of leadership roles are held by men and media coverage focuses primarily on male sports. Most sports media decision makers and most sport journalists are men. These issues are not unique to sport and transcend workplace diversity and societal equity. Such imbalances are a symptom of entrenched practices, cultural norms and stereotypes that are perpetuated and reinforced every day in our media and society.
The advisory panel made nine recommendations for cultural change that they included under four themes as follows:
Commitment to outcomes
- Drive commitment through an ambassador program
- Engage and empower by connecting ambassadors to women and girls
- Mandate gender balance and good governance principles
Innovative ways to effect change
- Reform recruitment practices and processes for leadership positions
- Enhance participation choice and improve how opportunities are marketed
Change the environment
- Deliver female friendly built environments and equitable facility usage policies
- Build an enabling environment through education and training
- Showcase the pathways and opportunities through role models
- Increase the profile of women in the sports media