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Women in sport

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.

The stats

The AusPlay survey reports that overall participation rates of NSW males and females is 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*.

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

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 only 16% of NSW SSOs Chairs/Presidents and 27% of Chief Executive Officers.

Grants and funding

In 2016/17, the OoS provided almost $1 million to female participation sports and to sports that identified strategies specifically targeting women under the Sport Development Grant Program and the Local Sport Grant Program.

The NSW Government is also investing $500,000 in the Rugby League Women’s World Cup, $20,000 in the Sydney International Beach Festival and $15,000 in the Australian Women in Surf Gala.

NSW will host two one-day-international matches of the Women’s Ashes series in Coffs Harbour, and the first ever Women’s Day-Night Test match and a T20 at North Sydney Oval.

The NSW Government has invested heavily in facilities for women’s sport with $27 million for the Netball Central stadium, $250,000 towards the new Rowing Australia Women’s National Training Centre on the Nepean River in Penrith.   Bon Andrews Oval at North Sydney received a $250,000 upgrade to support the growth and professionalisation of the women’s game.