The Office for Women in Sport and Recreation partnered with Moreland City Council to deliver the Change Our Game LGA Forum at the Brunswick Town Hall on Wednesday.
Over 120 members of the broader Victorian sport and active recreation sector were on hand for a thought-provoking discussion focused on creating positive change at the community level through policy, delivering female friendly built environments and equitable use policies.
Dr Bridie O’Donnell, Director of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation opened with an overview of the Change Our Game initiative and Heather Mofflin shared a range of positive outcomes resulting from the suite of programs which have been rolled out over the past 18 months.
“We know that women are under-represented across all levels of sport and active recreation in Victoria. Our programs are addressing that. Via individual scholarships, we have invested more than $500K to support over 100 women working and volunteering in the sector.” Heather Mofflin, Project Officer Office for Women in Sport and Recreation said.
Deputy Mayor, Cr Mark Riley spoke in detail on the leadership role the council have taken to embed equitable policies within Moreland.
“We’re proud to be a leader in opening doors to many… We will continue to foster a strong relationship with local clubs to ensure we all share the same inclusive values and commitment to our community.” Cr Riley said.
Tamara Mason, Female Sport Participation Officer, Moreland City Council followed up with a presentation outlining the journey the council and the clubs have been on over the past 10 years.
“The Moreland Active Women and Girls Strategy was established in 2019 and has three key parts: do, think, do. “Tamara said.
“Council acted by creating policy and putting on a full-time resource to really drive the strategy, we worked within our community and really listened to what barriers clubs faced and built partnerships with key stakeholders to help clubs overcome these barriers. We also really challenged clubs by encouraging them to proactively open their doors to women and girls, both on and off the field.
“There is no one way to do it – we must work collaboratively and learn from each other to get things done.”
Tamara went on to detail Moreland’s important role in leading positive change,
“We showed up, we had lots of face-to-face discussions. We asked What are your challenges? What do you want to achieve? How can we support you to do that?”
A panel discussion followed involving a range of community sport representatives.
Director Community Infrastructure and Place at Sport and Recreation Victoria, Phil Saikaly joined the panel and spoke broadly on the leadership role required across all levels of government in driving equality in sport and community level,
“We’re in the fortunate position where we get to determine what change we want to make with our investment We’re challenging local councils to make the change for the benefit of all members of their community” Phil said.
Trevor Ackland, President North Brunswick Football Club spoke on the club’s development and the support Moreland has provided.
“With the support of Moreland, we embarked on a journey and we were delighted to welcome over 50 passionate, smart, resilient and committed women to our club.” Trevor said.
The event is the latest initiative from the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, encouraging the industry to come together to celebrate women in sport and hear from those who are leading from the front, to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
“It’s time to ride the wave of women in sport or be prepared to be dumped” Tamara concluded.