Council has adopted its first Equally Active Policy and Strategy, which seeks to support women and girls to be more physically active as well as advancing gender equity in sport.
The Equally Active Policy and Strategy was formally endorsed by Council at its meeting on Monday 16 September 2019.
Maroondah Deputy Mayor Councillor Kylie Spears said the strategy establishes the current situation within Maroondah, including who is or isn’t participating in regular physical activity and why, and identifies priority actions to address low participation.
“Council has set about developing this strategy to deal with issues that may be curtailing women and girls’ involvement in sport and physical activity,” Cr Spears said.
The strategy also explores ways in which Council can support sports and recreation organisations to undertake actions to create inclusive, gender equitable club environments and empower women to take up coaching and decision-making roles.
“Reducing barriers, improving amenities, supporting inclusive environments and ensuring an equitable distribution of facilities and sportsgrounds therefore requires a clear strategic approach,” Cr Spears added.
As part of the development of the Equally Active Policy and Strategy, consultation was undertaken to understand the different factors that affect physical activity levels within certain populations and to identify strategies to overcome these challenges.
“We know that common exercise barriers include lack of time, lack of motivation, low income and parenting demands. However, on the flipside, participation rates by girls in traditionally male-dominated sports such as AFL, soccer and cricket have seen an unprecedented surge,” Cr Spears said.
“This positive trend, however, requires a strategic approach to ensure that the physical, social, attitudinal environment supports these girls to continue long-term participation through their teen years and into adulthood,” she said.
The strategy contains 24 actions aimed at creating a community where women and girls will have equal opportunity to undertake sport and recreational physical activity in environments where they feel welcomed, supported and safe.
“Increasing opportunities for physical activity for all women and girls in Maroondah is a complex issue requiring the collaboration of many areas of Council and the wider community,” Cr Spears said.
“And with more and more women and girls choosing to participate in sport, particularly sports often previously dominated by males, it’s important that we provide adequate infrastructure, opportunity and initiatives to support them both on and off the field of play”, Cr Spears added.