I have chosen to build my career in an industry that has historically been shaped by gender stereotypes. When advised there were no females in a regional football development role at the time of my job vacancy my only response was, ‘why not?’ I applied anyway and the rest is history.
I see now that sport has progressed and our awareness of what makes a healthy society has begun to change. I feel lucky to be in a position to break down gender stereotypes and create opportunities that previously didn’t exist. Women must always ask, ‘why not?’ to continue to break down these barriers and take the paths less travelled.
The need for gender equality has garnered nation wide attention in the AFL over the last few years. What started as whisper has now grown to a deafening roar from women who want to play our national game past the age of 14 years, in what has been a proudly male arena. And now, they can. Women football players fill our nation’s greatest stadiums. Young girls tell me most days that they dream to be AFL superstars. And now, they can be.
Although sport has the platform to be a catalyst of change, gender inequality is still evident in our everyday society. I am privileged to be in a position where my voice is starting to be heard and my efforts acknowledged. As a woman working within the AFL I have put a lot of energy in establishing and developing female football opportunities and pathways in Gippsland. In promoting healthy lifestyles through sporting opportunities, I am also passionate about supporting the access, education and quality of women’s health through my positions on Gippsland Women’s Health and Latrobe Regional Hospital boards.
Despite this, however, I have been subject to gender discrimination. And because of these experiences and my dedication to bettering our society, I am no longer afraid to speak up when I am subject to, or witness to, gender inequality. It’s not just because I am a woman – it’s because I’m human. I have a responsibility, as do we all, to make our world an equal one.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
Thank you to our guest bloggers and community advocates for taking part in our Gender Equality Matters 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign.