Since our incorporation in July 2005, Women Sport Australia (formerly known as the Australian Womensport and Recreation Association or AWRA) has supported and worked in collaboration with stakeholders from around Australia and the world to improve opportunities for women and girls in sport and physical activity.
Initially, we focused on capacity building and producing a membership brochure and other publications, including a website and a three-year strategic plan.
Here's how we have made a difference since 2005:
+ As a new year dawned Australian WomensSport and Recreation Association (AWRA) was rebranded to Women Sport Australia (WSA), a more relevant name to align with our Purpose. In line with this change WSA launched its new website devoted to providing members with access to the key information about advancing women in sport.
+ WSA also reconfigured its board structure, gaining approval for 8 elected and 3 independent directors to continue to drive the strategic priorities of gender pay equity, equal access to facilities and equal media time and space.
+ In conjunction with 2017 being a breakthrough year for women-in-sport in Australia, WSA experienced unprecedented growth in profile and national prominence via our growing social media channels and engagement and exposure in traditional media, becoming the go-to advocacy authority to comment on women-in-sport issues. The main issues have been the golden era of women’s sport, deep-rooted sexism, a living wage and fair workplace conditions for the growing number of professional and semi-professional women’s leagues and government funding and cutbacks.
+ Social media is one of WSA’s main advocacy platforms and 2017 saw WSA followers on Twitter reaching over 5000 and Facebook nearing 1,500. WSA directors worked hard to ensure an ongoing presence via a rotating seven-day roster.
+ During 2017 WSA created and issued 11 media releases/campaigns and appeared on national TV and in national, state and regional media discussing women-in-sport issues including on Channel Seven, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, SBS, ESPN, The Daily Telegraph plus in various other academic publications and magazines.
+ WSA directors were asked to attend, speak at and convene many events including: Girls Can! Women Can! Sport Summit; Australian Associated Press -Women in sport panel; GWS Giants Ladies Luncheon; Women of the World Festival; Vic Sport awards night; Football Federation Victoria –Women in football breakfast; Championing Women in Sports Conference; Victorian University annual sport dinner; ASSH Sydney Conference; OSF Conference –Gold Coast.
+ The WSA Mentoring Program was successfully relaunched with Bron Madigan, from Dynamix Sports Projects, employed as program administrator. A launch event in Melbourne 28th July following the Mentee Workshop was attended by more than 40 people including past President Janice Crosswhite and past Vice President Julie Anderson. Nike generously donated vouchers for all attendees and Hall & Wilcox generously provided the venue for our Workshop and the launch. 13 Mentees participated in Melbourne 7 in Sydney. In Sydney participants who were invited to network at Margot Foster’s Women In Sport lunch afterward their workshop.
+ AWRA’s working year began with a resounding victory when federal sports minister Sussan Ley and the Australian Sports Commission announced mandatory equal travel standards for male and female athletes and tied it to funding. Gender-neutral travel policies for national teams and athletes is an issue AWRA has campaigned on since the London 2012 Olympics.
+ AWRA new executive led by president Carol Fox, one of Australia’s first professional female lifeguards, a State-level swimmer and water polo player and professional development trainer and executive coach, took over from retiring AWRA founder Janice Crosswhite and EO Leanne Evans.
+ AWRA become an all-volunteer association with eight elected directors and 11 co-opted directors working on four sub committees: Advocacy; Commercial and Business Development; Communications and Management.
+ AWRA published its federal election women-in-sport policy platform titled A Sporting Chance in the lead up to the July 2, 2016 poll. The accompanying media release focusing on the policy’s key issues was published on at least three major media platforms.
+ AWRA advocacy with government reached new peaks. On May 12 AWRA met with Senator for NSW Jenny McAllister to seek bipartisan support for issues including gender pay equality in sport. Senator McAllister immediately started following AWRA on Twitter saying: “Jenny Mcallister @jennymcallister May 12 A pleasure to meet w leaders from @auswomensport - champions for women's equality in sport.” The Federal Opposition consulted AWRA about the formation of its election policy to put more women’s sport on ABC TV. AWRA also met with the federal member for Fraser Andrew Leigh and the federal member for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg.
+ AWRA’s advocacy with the media peaked with a record number of major media platforms publishing AWRA’s media releases.
+ AWRA rallied against the July decision by the Western Australian Institute of Sport to cut funding and close the Women’s Gymnastics High Performance Program in Perth by writing a protest letter to WA Sports Minister Mia Davies and condemning the move on AWRA’s social media platforms. AWRA’s FB post reached a record 25,560 people.
+ AWRA’s media profile peaks with AWRA’s EO, Secretary Janice Crosswhite, OAM and other Directors doing weekly interviews on trending issues including the axing of television coverage of the Women’s National Basketball League and the W-League (football) by the ABC, media coverage of women in sport and the gender pay gap.
+ AWRA’s Twitter followers spike at 3,600.
+ AWRA sets up an online payment system to process memberships and program enrollments.
+ AWRA launches a Facebook page.
+ AWRA is named by the Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing to deliver Building Active Communities workshops to community sport and recreation volunteers across that State.
+ AWRA delivers its fourth national mentoring program, part funded by the Australian Sports Commission.
+ AWRA makes a submission to the Senate Select Committee into the Abbott Government’s Budget Cuts (name of Committee changed in August 2015 to the Senate Select Committee into the Scrutiny of Government Budget Measures), highlighting the impact of the television cuts by the ABC on the promotion and development of women’s sport.
+ New Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove becomes AWRA’s Patron, replacing the outgoing Dame Quentin Bryce, who becomes a Life Patron.
+ Australian hockey coach Ric Charlesworth’s demand for more pay and sponsorship for Australia’s leading female athletes and coaches when he is named an AWRA Ambassador appears on over a dozen media platforms, including in the Middle East.
+ AWRA launches its new website.
+ AWRA delivers its national mentoring program, part funded by the Australian Sports Commission.
+ AWRA delivers leadership development workshops and sport development presentations on various topics including women and girls for the Queensland Government’s Building Active Communities Program and sports organisations including the Sunshine Coast Sports Federation.
+ In conjunction with the Northern Territory Department of Sport and Recreation, AWRA conducts leadership training workshops in Alice Springs and Darwin.
+ Government funding allows AWRA to hire its first paid employee, part-time Executive Officer Leanne Evans, a Commonwealth Games sprint medalist and sports administrator.
+ Australian basketball international Lauren Jackson and award-winning football (soccer) pioneer Heather Reid become AWRA Ambassadors.
+ AWRA launches a major advocacy and lobbying document ‘A Charter for Active Australian Women’ containing 20 solutions and actions to level the playing for women and girls in sport.
+ AWRA president of eight years Janice Crosswhite OAM presents the Charter to the conference of the International Association for Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women in Havana, Cuba.
+ AWRA successfully lobbies the Australian Sports Commission to introduce a 40 per cent quota for women on NSO boards by 2015.
+ AWRA makes a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Anti-siphoning) Bill on the protection of women’s sport, especially netball.
+ AWRA conducts ‘The Mighty Mentoring Project’ involving about 120 female and male mentors.
+ AWRA campaigns for equal rights for Australia's women’s basketball team, the Opals, who were flown economy class to the 2012 London Olympics while the Boomers, the lower-ranked men’s team were flown business class.
+ AWRA is instrumental in preventing the boxing and badminton international sports associations changing competition rules to make female athletes wear ‘more feminine’ uniforms.
+ AWRA signs the Brighton Declaration, affirming AWRA's commitment to gender equality
+ AWRA’s twitter account established.
+ For the first time, AWRA’s board welcomes male directors: sports administrator Tony Claydon (Treasurer, Perth) and sports academic Greg Downes (Lismore).
+ AWRA begins an ongoing relationship supporting the Australian Women’s Health Magazine’s ‘I Support Women In Sport Awards’ with extended media coverage and publicity.
+ AWRA is credited by the media and sports communities as being an instrumental lobbying force behind the campaign to allow the Women’s Eight rowing team to compete at the 2012 London Olympics, where they made the final.
+ ‘The Catalyst Project’ delivers 17 workshops and media networking/panel discussions in Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and WA.
+ AWRA’s ‘Implementing a Successful Mentoring Program’ is translated into Chinese (Mandarin) and hosted on AWRA’s and the Australian Sports Commission’s websites.
+ AWRA joins the national Equity Rights Alliance which advocates for women’s equality, leadership and diversity recognition.
+ Governor General Quentin Bryce AC becomes AWRA’s patron.
+ AWRA launches a major national media initiative: The Catalyst Project, to increase and improve media coverage of women’s sport.
+ AWRA signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Women’s Group on Women and Sport.
+ AWRA’s national sport leadership training project delivers workshops in Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria and WA.
+ AWRA receives Australian Sports Commission grants to develop and launch five web-based governance and leadership modules.
+ AWRA’s volunteer Directors present at the world congress for the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
+ AWRA launches its website.
+ A national online survey conducted by AWRA of Australian sporting organisations finds women make up almost half the number of active participants in organised sport but hold only seven per cent of leadership and governance positions. Survey findings are presented to a Sydney Sports Summit and the Australian Sports Commission.
+ Ten AWRA members attend the World Conference on Women's Sport in Japan where they present and host a meeting of Oceania delegates.
+ AWRA presents a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Women's Sport and Recreation in Australia.
+ With funding from the Federal Government’s Office for Women and the Australian Sports Commission, inaugural President and sports administrator Janice Crosswhite OAM incorporates AWRA as a not-for-profit volunteer organisation to support stakeholders around Australia to improve opportunities for women and girls in sport and physical activity.