The McGowan Government has begun assisting Western Australian sporting associations to achieve new national targets to increase the low number of women represented in leadership roles in sport.
The funding sports receive from the State Government will soon be linked to their performance in achieving gender balance in leadership – with a three-year transition period now underway to assist sports to achieve the targets.
Women’s sport has undergone a rapid transformation in Australia in recent years, with participation, commercial interest and mainstream television coverage in traditionally male-dominated sports increasing significantly.
However, these achievements have not been reflected at the highest decision-making levels of Australian sport, with sports board and executive management positions continuing to be largely male-dominated.
In 2018, new national targets were set to bring female representation on State Sporting Association boards up to 50 per cent – a move strongly supported by the WA Government.
Currently only 28 of the 68 Western Australian State Sporting Associations (41 per cent) meet the 50 per cent target, with 14 sports (21 per cent) having a quarter or less women on their boards or committees.
The drive for gender balance will complement the significant growth in opportunities for women’s sport, ensuring participation and interest is matched by opportunities for women to become industry leaders.
The State Government has worked with KPMG to produce Case for Change, a project which highlights the many organisational benefits that more diverse leadership would provide to sports challenged by the changing environment.
The sports industry’s response to the new targets has been overwhelmingly positive, with many leaders in the sector having long campaigned for proactive measures to promote greater opportunities for women.
The State Government is rolling out a range of initiatives to assist sports to increase female representation in their leadership teams.
As stated by Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:
“Despite Western Australian women long being among the State’s most passionate sport supporters, they have not been afforded the same opportunities to hold senior management roles as men.
“Spurred on by the recent transformation in women’s sport, there is now a greater understanding of the benefits more diverse leadership can provide sports, and the State Government is assisting the industry to capitalise on those opportunities.
“It is not enough that women’s sport is enjoying a higher profile – we need to foster more opportunities for women themselves to become industry leaders in their own right.”
As stated by Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk:
“Women’s leagues are more popular than ever before, which is not just good for the women involved – clubs also benefit from this growing enthusiasm.”
“There are many skilled and capable women with a great deal of expertise to contribute to the sports industry, so these changes will help to ensure organisations tap into the full pool of talent available when choosing industry leaders.
“It has been demonstrated that increased gender diversity in leadership roles leads to better decision-making and improves culture and morale, so addressing these historical inequities in the sector simply makes good business sense.”