McGowan Government levels the playing field for women’s sport

McGowan Government levels the playing field for women’s sport

Women’s sport is set to benefit from a new $250,000 annual fund to enable the State’s grassroots clubs to revitalise change rooms and other facilities to accommodate booming participation levels.

A lack of adequate facilities has for many years forced women’s sporting teams to use public toilets, cars, bushes or the sidelines of playing fields in lieu of proper change rooms.

Often when women’s teams have access to change rooms they are designed specifically for men, with urinals outnumbering toilets, no privacy screens and a lack of locking doors.

Women’s sport has experienced huge growth in recent years, exacerbating the shortfall in facilities and requiring a concerted effort from the State Government and State Sporting Associations to address the issue.

Of Western Australia’s 76 community-level AFL facilities with women’s teams, only 53 per cent have unisex or dedicated women’s options. The rest leave women with no other option than to use men’s change rooms or change elsewhere.

Women’s participation in sport currently peaks at ages nine to 11 and declines as women get older, with the lack of adequate facilities thought to be partly responsible.

The $250,000 per year fund will be quarantined from the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund, with more available subject to demand.

Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund Small Grants ($2,500-$66,666) and Annual and Forward Planning Grants ($66,667-$2 million) are both currently open for applications. Clubs, local governments and community groups are invited to apply.

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Minister for Women’s Interests, Simone McGurk, said, “the numbers speak for themselves – we need to encourage more women and girls into both community and elite sport and this announcement, in particular the grants, is a solid step towards doing that.”

“Changing attitudes at grassroots sporting clubs is pivotal to changing outcomes, and mindsets, for budding female athletes.”

“All women and girls need to feel that they can equally participate and be supported in WA sport – not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because sport is such an important part of our culture. We’re sending a clear message that women need equality of access in all aspects of daily life.”