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Women in sport

Further information

Clearinghouse for Sport is an excellent resource on women's sport, including statistics, barriers, enablers, Australian and international initiatives and more. Registration is free.

The Women's Game for the latest women's sports news.

Women in Australian sport are shining brighter than ever with unprecedented media coverage and broadcasting deals boosting their profile and giving rise to female sporting heroes. Our women are winning the hearts and minds of a new fan base and inspiring young girls across the country. Now is the time to shape the women's sport agenda to realise the health, commerical and societal benefits of increasing female engagement - as participants, fans, role models and decision makers.

Women in Sport Strategy

On 13 November 2017, Minister Stuart Ayres announced the development of a Women in Sport Strategy, to be released mid-2018. This strategy will contain four pillars – leveraging investment, participation, leadership and culture, and places and spaces.

Women in Sport Strategy Development Process

Read about the highly successful Unleashing the Value of Women’s Sport Forum held in October 2017. 

International Women's Day 2018 - Sport Leaders Breakfast

The Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres hosted an International Women's Day Sport Leaders Breakfast to celebrate recent progress in women's sport and the forward plan. During the breakfast a 'Press for Progress' panel facilitated by ABC presenter Stephanie Brantz showcased how sporting organisations, individuals and brands are striving for gender parity in sport. At the breakfast the Minister paid tribute to Australia's most capped female cricketer, Alex Blackwell by honouring her with the inaugural International Women’s Day Leadership in Sport Award. He also announced the Women’s Leadership in Sport Scholarship.

Women’s Leadership in Sport Scholarship

The stats

The AusPlay survey reports that overall participation rates of NSW males and females are similar, however some groups of girls and women participate at significantly lower levels.

For children 14 years and under, AusPlay collects data for participation outside of school hours. The participation rate for NSW girls 14 years and under (3 times/week) is 16% compared to 25% for boys.+

The participation rate for girls drops sharply in the 12-14 years’ age group*.

Women in sport shotput athlete
In 2016 the most popular organised sport and physical activities outside of school hours for girls were:

Swimming 30.8%
Dancing (recreational) 17.5%
Gymnastics 12.4%
Netball 12.0%
Football/soccer 11.5%

Of women in the 15-17 years and 25-34 years’ age groups 51% participated in sport and physical activity three times/week compared to the average of NSW participation rate of 59%+. The NSW participation rate for women is 60% and for men 58%.

Women with disability, unemployed women and women who spoke a language other than English at home also had significantly lower participation.

The NSW Government is committed to assisting women to participate in sport at all levels through grant programs, support for major women’s sports events, promotion of gender balance on boards and through active involvement in national and state policy and strategy development.

Source:  *AusPlay Dec 2016  and +AusPlay April 2017

Women in sports leadership

The case for gender diversity on boards and in leadership roles is well established. Evidence suggests that boards that demonstrate a progressive attitude and commitment to board diversity and value the role of women in their organisation will outperform those that don’t.

Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of women appointed to key leadership roles as board members and senior executives in a number of traditionally male dominated sports. But there is still a long way to go.

In 2015/16:

  • 30% of board directorships of NSW State Sporting Organisations (SSOs) were held by women.
  • Women accounted for 16% of NSW SSOs Chairs/Presidents and 27% of Chief Executive Officers.