A case for change

It’s amazing how far Australian women in sport have come. But we’re still far from fair. Now is the time to change that.

Just like Mel Jones helped change the minds of our classroom of kids, we can all work together to bring about equality sooner.

In late 2015, the Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation presented nine recommendations to increase female leadership and participation. The Victorian Government is committed to implementing all nine recommendations to improve equality in sport and active recreation.

The sport and recreation sector, state and local governments and other partners across Victoria are working together to bring about change. Having strong partners is key. ‘Change our Game’ is a rally cry to ignite an undeniable desire amongst women and men who want to see their sport and recreation activities prosper into the future.

Change our games

The game plan inquiry

In December 2015 the Victorian Government released a report from an independent Inquiry that shed light on the gender inequality in Victorian sports and recreation. Luckily the Inquiry also outlined a way forward, helping change and improve sport and recreation for all involved.

The game plan inquiry

The Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation outlined nine recommendations to increase leadership and participation by women and girls.


  1. Drive commitment through an Ambassadors of Change program
  2. Engage and empower by connecting Ambassadors to women and girls
  3. Mandate gender balance and good governance principles
  4. Reform recruitment practices and processes for leadership positions
  5. Enhance participation choice and improve how opportunities are marketed
  6. Deliver female-friendly built environments and equitable facility usage policies
  7. Build an enabling environment through education and training
  8. Showcase the pathways and opportunities through role models
  9. Increase the profile of women in sports media

The Victorian Government has started working to implement all nine recommendations, with an additional $1 million allocated through the sport portfolio to assist with this work. Partnerships and collaboration with the sport and active recreation sector will be central to achieving change, recognising that the aspirations of the Inquiry will only be realised through joint effort.

Why change?

Women and girls make up just over half of the Victorian population. We know through academic graduation rates and other measures that women have skills, knowledge and experience that are equal to men. Not tapping into that talent pool is inequitable and wasteful. This Inquiry set out a five year game plan to bridge the gap between the number of men and women in sport and recreation sector.

Our goals

  • Champion leadership for women in sport
  • Challenge traditional stereotypes and structures
  • Develop new participation and leadership opportunities
  • Nurture new ways of ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ through education and training
  • Promote female sports, role models, recreation opportunities and pathways – whether they focus on participation or leadership – to provide an opportunity for inspiring and engaging more women and girls.


The Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation was conducted by an independent advisory panel of nine prominent state sport sector representatives appointed by the Victorian Government, chaired by Richmond Football Club President Peggy O’Neal.

The Inquiry involved consultations and workshops throughout the state with representatives from all levels of sport and recreation to assess the current state of female representation in the sport sector – especially in leadership roles.

The overwhelming finding is that women are under-represented in leadership roles in the sport and active recreation sector. The report also highlighted the opportunities for women to participate and lead are either elusive or not readily evident.

To find out more about the recommendations of the advisory panel:


There’s no point in waiting around for change to happen. That’s why we’ve set ourselves a deadline of 5 years to implement all the recommendations and actions outlined in the report.

Like any change of this scale, commitment and tenacity will be front and centre if we’re to succeed. This success relies on the collaboration and partnerships between state and local government and the sector.

To oversee the changes, an implementation committee has been established, and includes representatives from:

  • Local government
  • State government
  • Sport and recreation sector

This committee will monitor progress and help shape the implementation of all the report’s recommendations over the next one to five years. The development of a scorecard to measure the progress, success and positive change will be essential. After all, what gets measured, gets done.

Change our games Inquiry