Last updated: 17 Dec, 2018

Advancing gender equality in sport is a key priority of VicHealth.

Advancing gender equality in sport is a key priority of VicHealth.

VicHealth recognises the importance of women in leadership roles in sport to represent the interests of women and girls, and to contribute to the creation of more diverse and inclusive sporting environments for women and girls.

The Victorian State Government 'Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation' outlined a number of findings including that there is a substantial gap between the number of men and women in leadership positions across all Victorian sporting sectors.

VicHealth aims to increase the representation of women on the governing bodies of sporting organisations with which it partners. It first announced its position in January 2017.

VicHealth’s position is that:

By 1 July 2019, selected sport and recreation organisations in receipt of VicHealth funding will be required to have a minimum 40% self identified females on the governing body.


This aligns with similar positions for sporting organisations to have a minimum 40% women on their Boards as adopted by the Australian Sports Commission and the Victorian Government

Given the diversity within sport and recreation organisations and their governance structures, VicHealth understands there could be a range of scenarios in relation to meeting this commitment, which may need further consideration.

An advisory panel on gender diversity will consider these scenarios on a case by case basis and inform decisions around organisations’ eligibility to receive funding based on meeting the commitment. The advisory panel consists of representation from VicHealth, Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Sport and Recreation Victoria and Vicsport.


Frequently Asked Questions



What’s VicHealth’s position on gender targets for sporting organisation boards?
To receive VicHealth funding, the following sporting organisations will be required to have a minimum of 40% self-identified female Board representation by 1 July 2019:

The position is not intended to apply to:

  • local sporting clubs/organisations
  • other sporting clubs/organisations not assessed as elite sporting clubs/teams


How will VicHealth implement this policy?
From early 2017, all new VicHealth funding agreements with selected sporting bodies include a requirement relating to meeting the 40% gender target by 1 July 2019. 


How does this relate to sporting organisations about to enter new funding agreements with VicHealth prior to 1 July 2019?

New funding agreements with sporting organisations entered into and concluding prior to 1 July 2019 will not be required to meet the 40% women representation on their boards in order to be funded.

However, if the funding agreement concludes after 1 July 2019, refer to the question below.


What will happen for new multi-year funding agreements that commence before 1 July 2019 and conclude post 1 July 2019? (for example a 3-year agreement for the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2021) 

Where a new funding agreement spans multi-years, VicHealth will include a requirement for funded sporting organisations to commit to achieving the 40% target by 2019. Organisations not currently meeting the 40%, should outline in their funding applications how they intend to meet this commitment by 1 July 2019. Failure to meet this requirement may result in an organisation being ineligible for VicHealth funding and/or in termination of VicHealth funding.


What if my sporting organisation is unable to achieve the 40% target by 1 July 2019?

VicHealth is working with Sport and Recreation Victoria, Office for Women in Sport and Recreation and Vicsport to build the capacity of sports to achieve this target.

VicHealth recognises that sporting organisations vary, and that a range of factors may impact on whether a sporting organisation can achieve the 40% target by 2019.

VicHealth will consider the status of sporting organisations’ boards in collaboration with the advisory panel on gender diversity. Sports who identify challenges are encouraged to make contact and advise VicHealth early.


What if my sporting organisation does not have a board?

The position will be applied to a sporting organisation’s governing body, which is generally a board or committee of management or similar.

However, reflecting the variety of organisations (and their legal structures) that VicHealth engage with, there may be some sporting organisations that do not have a board. In these situations, VicHealth will deem the governing body to be the structure in operation that controls and governs the key decision making and operations of that organisation.

This will need to be assessed on a case by case basis and take into consideration all relevant circumstances.