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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.


+ Work was undertaken to review the membership model and a new Gender Equity Pledge strategy has been established for individuals and organisations.

+ The Women in Sport Photo Action Awards (#WISPAA) competition was held for a third year  with great entry numbers despite the challenges of COVID.

+ The Women in Sport Mentoring Program moved online and was made more affordable thanks to the support of Australian fashion brand Shona Joy.

+ Our media and social media presence continued to grow.

+ We have established key strategic and corporate partnerships including News Corp for the #WISPAA competition, Shona Joy for the Mentoring Program and we joined forced with Cadbury to launch a Get in the Game Uniform Grants Program.

+ We also began taking steps to conduct a governance review and update the constitution.


+ Despite the global challenges of COVID-19 being severely disruptive to all planned sporting events and competitions, WSA maintained national prominence and influence in 2020 due to advocacy via social media channels, media interviews and podcasts. Social media followers continued to increase and WSA’s media releases and requests for media interviews resulted in WSA appearing in the media on multiple occasions.

+ WSA ran the Women in Sport Photo Action Awards (#WISPAA) for the second year in a row. Hundreds of images were submitted once more with 30 finalist images announced and both a professional and amateur winner crowned. A big thank you to 2020#WISPAA judges Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck, author and journalist Samantha Lane, photographer Ryan Pierse and WSA President Carol Fox as well as partners AAP, ISPT, MMR and Quality Mind. In September WSA held a webinar online event with #WISPAA winners Michael Willson (professional) and Casey Sims (amateur).

+ WSA’s Women in Sport Mentoring Program continued to evolve in 2020. After a face-to-face workshop in Adelaide, the program pivoted to an online format to adapt to COVID-19.  Three online programs took place with mentees able to place in the program from all across Australia. A bespoke leadership and mentoring program also took place for SA Country Basketball. We hope to be able to run networking events with these mentees in the new year.

+ WSA were involved in a wide range of events and forums both in-person early in the year and online later in the year. These events included the Governor of Victoria’s Australia Day reception, The ICC T20 Women’s World Cup on International Women’s Day, Change Our Game Community Sport Symposium in Victoria, Sport Australia National Integrity Forum, Gymnastics Victoria Women In Sport Breakfast, the Melbourne Press Club Moving the Goal Posts webinar and the Sports Management Association of Australia and New Zealand Online Conference.

+ WSA’s board was strengthened with several new Board Directors – Samantha Culbert, Stefan Grun, Hanna Heptinstall, Tamatha Harding and Cherie Nicholl. In October, Carol Fox retired from the Board with Gen Simmons elected into the position of President, Rebecca Read appointed Deputy Chair, David Bond was re-elected Treasurer and Tamatha Harding became Secretary.


+ In January WSA launched a major new national initiative – the inaugural Women in Sport Photo Action Awards (#WISPAA). Hundreds of images were submitted as part of the competition with 30 finalist images announced and both a professional and amateur winner crowned.#WISPAA partners included Nikon, the IAAF, Epson AAP and MMR. In June WSA held a Melbourne Exhibition launch event at 50 Lonsdale St featuring the #WISPAA winners and finalist images with a fantastic turnout of 100 leaders in sport including Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck. The images were then turned into an exhibition which toured around Australia with thanks to large support from ISPT. Fantastic work by WSA Director Louise Evans who brought the competition and exhibition to life.

+ WSA continued to grow in national prominence and influence in 2019 due to strong advocacy via social media channels, traditional media interviews and bespoke media releases. Twitter followers and Facebook page likes continued to increase and WSA’s media releases and requests for media interviews resulted in WSA appearing in the traditional media on multiple occasions. Highlights included being featured on leading news organisations from the BBC TV World News and ABC TV 7pm News and ABC Radio, to The Australian, The Guardian, SBS, The Herald Sun, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

+ WSA also undertook a website redesign which was completed by AAP who also assisted with #WISPAA. The fresh look and feel of the website is perfect to take us into a new era of WSA.

+ WSA’s Women in Sport Mentoring Program continued to flourish with 30 new mentees from a range of sporting organisations joining the program from both Melbourne and Sydney. Both mentoring programs were followed by networking events giving the mentees a chance to put their new skills into action with some leaders in sport.

+ WSA directors attended and/or addressed a wide range of events and forums including International Women’s Day, Women in Sport Leadership Summit, Change Our Game events in Victoria, Sport Australia Hall Of Fame Gala, Sport Australia National Integrity Forum, Gymnastics Victoria Women In Sport Breakfast and the Women’s Health Magazine Women in Sport Awards.

+ WSA’s board was strengthened with four new Board Directors – Isaak Dury, Rebecca Read, Anthony Moore and Warwick Waters. Carol Fox was re-elected President, Gen Simmons was appointed Deputy Chair, David Bond was re-elected Treasurer and Alison Buxton became Secretary.


+ WSA experienced unprecedented growth in national prominence and influence in 2018 due to our strong advocacy via our growing social media channels, traditional media interviews and bespoke media releases. Twitter followers rose over 1000 to 6600 and Facebook had 2200 followers, up from 1480. WSA’s media releases and requests for media interviews resulted in WSA appearing in the traditional media on multiple occasions. Highlights included appearances on ABC TV 7pm news, Channel 10 TV 6pm news, Channel Ten’s The Project and ABC Radio. Stories quoting WSA advocating for a more level playing field for women in sport were published in The Australian, SBS, Yahoo,, SBS, ESPN, Daily Mail, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times, The New Daily, The Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, Adelaide Now and The Examiner,

+ WSA’s Women in Sport Mentoring Program continued to flourish with 14 new mentees from a range of sporting organisations joining the program. Nine Network News sports reporter Alicia Muling provided an inspiring presentation as guest speaker. WSA awarded a scholarship to a Mentee and the subsequent thank-you function proved a valuable networking event and an ideal platform to thank mentors for their valuable time and experience. Mentoring program facilitator Bron Madigan was recognised for her outstanding contribution towards increasing female participation in sport at the annual Women In Sport Breakfast.

+ WSA collaborated with the Male Champions of Change (Sport) on an extensive report released in early 2019.

+ WSA directors attended and/or addressed a wide range of events and forums including International Women’s Day, Women in Sport Leadership Summit, 23rd Women in Leadership and Management Summit, Change Our Game, Sport Australia Hall Of Fame, Victorian Women In Sport Gymnastics Breakfast, Women’s Health Magazine Women in Sport Awards, Edna Ryan Awards 20th Anniversary and the Women’s Rugby League World Cup.

+ WSA’s board was strengthened by three new Directors – Frances Cordaro, Iain Roy and Treasurer, David Bond. Carol Fox was re-elected President, Raelene Turner was appointed Deputy Chair and Sandy Angus became Secretary.


+ 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.