Levelling the Playing Field

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I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to change out of your work clothes and into a sports bra while sitting in the driver’s seat of your car? If not, let me tell you, it is far from easy!  

This, along with needing to walk through the men’s change rooms in order to access the female change rooms or being unwilling to use the showers after your game because there aren’t curtains for privacy are the experiences of many women within South Australian sporting clubs.  

Just this week, The Advertiser published an article which told of “decrepit facilities forc[ing] some South Australian female soccer players to change in car parks, offices and bars – or to stay away from the game completely”. Specifically, it reported that “Women players from Adelaide City and Metro United were forced to change in bars at Hindmarsh Stadium during Football Federation SA’s men’s and women’s grand final day last September”. This lack of facilities exists despite the fact that women have been playing soccer in organised leagues in South Australia for decades.  

Unfortunately, these situations are by no means confined to soccer.  

During 2018, Diversity Inclusion had the opportunity to assist the Government of South Australia’s then Office for Recreation and Sport with the implementation of its Female Facilities Program. The program provided South Australian sporting venues with financial assistance to develop their facilities to be more inclusive of the whole sporting community. 

As part of our involvement in the Program, we audited physical facilities and spoke with participants at 30 sporting venues across South Australia. We then provided subsequent recommendations around how venues could improve inclusivity for women. During this process, we witnessed first hand the positive impact of the development of purpose built female facilities, for example change rooms, not only for female members but also for the entire club and even the wider community as a whole.  

With almost 120,000 girls and women registered with sporting clubs in South Australia and the individual, social and economic benefits of sport arguably immeasurable, it’s time to invest in women’s participation.  

If you would like to explore how your club or venue’s female facilities could be improved please contact us, we would love to help. 

Georgia Brown, Diversity Inclusion

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