Sport gender equity urged

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Justin FrisSouth Western Times
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Minister for Women’s Interests Simone McGurk.
Camera IconMinister for Women’s Interests Simone McGurk. Credit: The West Australian

WA sporting clubs and associations could face a reduction in State government funding if they do not improve gender equality practices within their chosen sport, according to Minister for Women’s Interests Simone McGurk.

As part of the McGowan Government’s push to have more women represented at board level in sport, a quota system will be implemented, with associations which do not comply potentially having their government funding slashed.

Ms McGurk is adamant the approach is the best way to improve the upward trend of female sport participation.

“We want girls to be involved at a community level and then further if they wish to continue on,” she said.

“We also want women to be involved at a volunteer level, whether that be coaching or umpiring — but also at board level.

“I think it makes sense for there to be more gender equity at a board level. The business case study is pretty established that it gives you better decision making.

“So we think it is about time that community organisations reflected at least 50 per cent women on boards.”

A three-year transition period will be installed to help each sport hit the target.

If any association has not reached the 50 per cent quota by the end of the three-year period, a sanction will be applied.

“There will be a financial penalty,” Ms McGurk said.

“They will not lose all of their funding but they will drop down a financial tier.

“There are a number of financial tiers by which community sporting organisations can receive their funding, depending on their size.

“So they would drop down a tier and there would be a financial penalty, or an incentive to get on board with this sort of thing of involving women at an organisational level.”

Ms McGurk’s comments were echoed earlier this month by her colleague Mick Murray in Bunbury, whose portfolio covers sport and recreation.

According to Government data, 41 per cent of 68 State sporting associations across WA currently meet the 50 per cent criteria, with a further 21 per cent having a quarter or less women represented at board level.

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