Last updated: 01 Jul, 2019

The Victorian government is continuing to lead the charge when it comes to gender equality in sport and recreation and our peak bodies have demonstrated their ongoing commitment to drive positive change.

The Victorian government is continuing to lead the charge when it comes to gender equality in sport and recreation and our peak sport bodies have demonstrated their commitment to driving positive change.

From 1 July 2019, a 40 per cent women on sport boards quota is in effect for all peak organisations receiving program funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria and VicHealth - and with 93% of bodies meeting this target, it is clear they are ‘on board’.

We all know Victorians love sport. It’s integral to our economy, our collective heath and our social cohesion. Sport and recreation offer vital opportunities for enriching our communities, and all Victorians should be able to contribute - regardless of their gender.

In any industry, it is reasonable to expect boards and leadership teams to reflect their communities. Sport is no different and with more women and girls participating than ever before, women remain under represented in off field leadership roles across all levels of the Victorian sport and active recreation sector. 

Redressing the low representation of women in decision-making roles is imperative to delivering upon broader government gender equality policy and improving board and organisational performance.

Director of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Dr Bridie O’Donnell welcomed the introduction of the 40% women on boards quota,

“A major focus over the past three years has been to mandate gender balance and good governance principles. 1 July 2019 marks an important milestone in creating gender equality in the Victorian Sport and Recreation sector. Board quotas will ensure women are provided with necessary opportunities to take on leadership roles and contribute in a way which will enhance and strengthen the Victorian sport and recreation sector.”

A coordinated and collaborative approach driven jointly by the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation and VicHealth, the challenge was set, and organisations responded. 93% of eligible organisations have now achieved quota. This is a significant improvement on January 2017 figures where only 44% of organisations had at least 40% women on their boards.

“The introduction of the board quota has been a leading piece of work across government and it was evident from the beginning of this project that there was a strong appetite for change across the sector. This milestone is a result of a co-ordinated and collaborative approach between the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Sport and Recreation Victoria and VicHealth, all of whom align in broader Victorian Government policy around gender equality. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Vicsport and the support they have provided to the sector to ensure organisations are best placed to meet the requirement.” Dr O’Donnell said.

Victoria is leading the way when it comes to creating off-field leadership roles for women and girls in sport and recreation, with other jurisdictions across Australia and globally watching closely.

VicHealth Acting CEO Dr Lyn Roberts said the results showed targets were clearly effective.

“If we want to drive change in relation to gender equality in sport, women need an equal place in the boardroom,” Dr Roberts said.

“It’s been fantastic to see our funded sports partners demonstrate their commitment to gender equality and work hard to reach the board quota.

“The huge increase in sports organisations meeting the target clearly shows targets are driving change.”