Active Women Strategy aims to kick big goals in the participation space
The launch of Active Women: UNSW 2025 Women’s Sport and Active Recreation Strategy was a landmark moment for UNSW, becoming the first Australian university to launch such a strategy.
Published on the 13 March 2020 by Megan Maurice
Breaking down barriers that hold women back is a key element of the participation pillar of the Active Women Strategy. Photo courtesy of Arc Sport UNSW
The first pillar of the strategy looks at participation within the University context, with an ambitious key performance indicator of increasing women’s participation in sport and active recreation at UNSW by 100% by 2025.
Work on the strategy comes at an important time for women in sport and active recreation – in the past five years there has been huge growth across Australia and the world, with increased funding and exposure for domestic and international leagues leading to more opportunities for women on and off the field.
However, despite this, mass inequality still exists and there is much more to be done to redress the balance and provide opportunities for women to flourish within the sporting world.
The issues that women face in sport come from a history of marginalisation, from deeply ingrained societal attitudes and from reduced opportunities to participate on and off the field. These attitudes towards women exist across society, but in sport they are particularly prominent.
Research compiled during the creation of the strategy, which comes via surveys conducted by Arc Sport, UNSW Sport and the NSW Office of Sport, found that barriers for women in sport and active recreation include fear of judgement around appearance, ability and priorities, as well as time, cost, feeling intimidated and not knowing where to start.
UNSW’s Active Women Strategy will work to address this through the participation pillar by developing action plans to build the pipeline between Arc Sport’s SHE CAN program and ongoing participation in sport and active recreation, as well as working with Arc Sport and the YMCA to develop new programs for the new Village Green Wellness Precinct.
Sarah Dawes, Sport Clubs Coordinator at Arc Sport, will be the Executive Team member leading the participation pillar and working with the broader team to advocate for students and break down barriers to women’s participation.
“Arc Sport is proud to be a leader in providing UNSW students the opportunity for increased participation in women’s sport and active recreation,” she said.
“This strategy is underpinned by an inclusive sporting culture that embraces and drives change in the UNSW sporting community.”
As the team responsible for delivery of sport programs on campus, Arc Sport is excited by the increased focus on women’s participation across all programs, including Sport Clubs, Social Sport, Dance, Day of Play, SHE CAN, Learn to Play, the Inter-College Cup, UniSport Nationals and Intervarsity competitions.
This ground-breaking strategy aims to make genuine, lasting change to the sporting culture at UNSW with a strong focus on equity, diversity and inclusion. With participation being at the forefront of sport and active recreation, the delivery of this pillar will form a strong basis for achieving the lofty goals put in place by the Active Women Strategy.