Sporting Clubs and Gender Equality – men benefit too

The Victorian government continues to make large investments in the promotion of greater gender equality in our communities.  But why is this relevant to sporting clubs?  Savvy sporting communities are recognising this as a modern opportunity to grow their club, attract funding and increase memberships- but the benefits do not stop there.

Research shows communities who achieve greater gender equality experience increased social cohesion, connectivity and greater health and wellbeing, for not only its women but men as well[1].  In environments of greater gender equality, men are also less likely to feel pressure to fit inside the ‘man box’.  Historically, there has been enormous pressure on men to behave a certain way – “to be tough;not to show any emotions; to be the breadwinner, to always be in control”[2] etc.  As a result of this pressure, “Men are more likely to consume alcohol excessively, more likely to engage in violent and risky behaviour and less likely to admit pain, seek medical advice or have a strong social network from which to draw support”[3].  From this, the mental health of men can suffer.  Indeed, men represent an average eight out of every ten suicides in Australia[4].  Gender equality is as much a man’s issue as that of women.  Promoting gender equality in your club is an effective step to protecting and supporting all your club members.

“Creating environments where everyone feels equal and respected builds a club culture that is strong, united, inclusive, family friendly, supportive and representative of the local community.  This can lead to benefits for both the club and the local community”[5]

  • Increased memberships
  • Larger pool of volunteers
  • Increased revenue
  • More diverse membership base
  • Greater range of skills and abilities, on and off the field
  • Increased appeal to a broader range of grants and sponsors

So what does gender equality look like in a sporting club environment?

  • Equal opportunities for men and women to contribute to decision making.  Are men and women equally represented in leadership positions in your club?
  • Equal visibility of men and women in club’s promotional materials – website, Facebook page, flyers etc.
  • Volunteer roles aren’t assigned by gender.  Are men made to feel welcome and capable in volunteer roles traditionally held by women? Conversely, are women actively encouraged and welcomed into roles traditionally held by men? Women aren’t restricted to the canteen.  Men aren’t just delegated to ‘manning’ the barbeque or coaching the junior boys teams only. 
  • Childcare commitments are respected and considered in the planning of club activities.  Do men feel welcome to bring their children along to training and games as needed?  Are your club’s social functions family friendly?
  • Male and female teams have equal access to the use of the main ground, pitch or field.  Do your Junior male and female players have equal opportunity to see women’s teams play front and centre? 

These are but a few of the ways gender equality can be fostered by a sporting club.  Sports Focus can connect your club to a range of resources and support your club to start their journey towards greater gender equality.  To express interest or to arrange an obligation free chat please contact Sports Focus on 5442 3101 or email admin@sportsfocus.com.au


[1] https://www.vic.gov.au/women/gender-equality/a-victorian-gender-equality-strategy/case-for-change.html

[2] https://jss.org.au/what-we-do/the-mens-project/the-man-box/

[3] https://www.vic.gov.au/women/gender-equality/a-victorian-gender-equality-strategy/case-for-change/gender-inequality-affects-men-too.html

[4] https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/men

[5] https://www.mav.asn.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/7299/Maroondah-City-Council-sporting-club-committee-resource.pdf

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