Australia Honours its Female Sporting Champions

The Establishment in Sydney was the scene for the Women’s Health I Support Women in Sports Awards ceremony over the weekend. Successful female athletes from across the country were in attendance to see who would take home Sportswoman of the Year among a host of other awards to give recognition to the women who this blog strives to champion; strong role models who live and breathe fitness, confidence and a successful life.

In a hotly contested field, it was champion cyclist Anna Meares who this year took out the top gong, the first woman to have won the award for a second time in its short history. Not only was she recognised for another World Championship, but her advocacy for women in sport also helped her outshine the competition.

807531-anna-mearesAnna Meares took out Sportswoman of the Year

The full list of award winners is as follows:

* Women’s Health Sports Woman of the Year – Anna Meares, cycling

* Moment of the Year – Minjee Lee, golf

* Fair Fighter – Caroline Buchanan, BMX

* Local Heroine – Jordan Mercer, ironwoman

* Leadership Legend – Laura Geitz, netball

* A-Team of the Year – Diamonds, netball

* A-Team of the Year (special recognition) – Matildas, soccer

* Person of Sporting Words – Amanda Shalala, ABC

* One to Watch – Eleanor Patterson, high jump

* Service to the Sport – Lydia Lassila, aerial skiing

* Contribution to the Community – Amna Karra-Hassan, AFL

* Outstanding Woman in Sport – Ellyse Perry, cricket/soccer

* Hall of Fame – Susie O’Neill OAM, swimming

The awards have grown from the small beginnings of having under 100 people in a function room of the MCG to a much larger scale event, including a red carpet introduction and national media exposure. With continued exposure like this, it is hoped young women will be able to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of these women, and attempt to either emulate them in their chosen sports, or take up physical activity in order to reap the health and lifestyle benefits that these women get to take advantage of everyday. We will continue to champion these achievements in pursuit of this goal.

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The October Wrap: Women in Sport

Football

With a brand new entrant to the W-League, Melbourne City, coming into the line-up this year and impressing in the first two rounds of the competition, the strength of the W-League continues to improve and the talent pool widens. Best of all for the competitiveness of the sport, the team Melbourne City ended up dominating was the always-strong Sydney FC 6-0. After then beating Canberra, the new franchise sits at the top of the W-League table and will face the first all-Melbourne derby against the Victory next match.

Tameka-Butt.Tameka Butt shoots for the Matildas

Looking internationally, the Matildas have played friendlies in China this month while continuing to work through their pay dispute with Football Federation Australia (FFA). A 1-1 draw to China was the most recent result, with Tameka Butt scoring the goal for the Matildas in her 50th international appearance.

Hockey

Hockeyroos’ goalkeeper Rachael Lynch has been the hero in October after steering Australia to victory over New Zealand in the Oceania Cup final. After finishing up 1-1 at the full time mark, Lynch held her nerve to save 4 out of 5 penalty shots in the sudden death shootout to win the prestigious cup.

640150-rachael-lynchRachael Lynch makes an impressive save

Golf

New Zealand has been having much better luck in the sport of golf, with 18-year-old New Zealander Lydia Ko taking out the recent Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship in Taipei. Ko has now won five times on the LGBP tour this year, kicking it off in September when she became the youngest person ever to win an LPGA major tournament.

Special Mention

The 37th entrant to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame has already been announced, with former netballer Anne Sargeant becoming the first netball player (and 11th woman) admitted. Sargeant represented Australia in netball for 11 years, was captain of the team for six of those years, and took part in three World Championships.

newdaily_201113_annesargeantAnne Sargeant as part of a World Championship team

Sally Pearson will be hoping to establish herself as a future Hall of Famer, although she will strive for back to back Olympic gold medals in the hurdles the hard way after breaking her wrist earlier in the year. The break was a serious one, ending up requiring a metal plate and screws in Pearson’s wrist. She missed the world championships due to the injury, but her preparation for Rio is back on track. We wish her and all females competing around the world the best for the remainder of the year and beyond.

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Why Sport will help Women in the Workforce

The existing business model is a male model of organisational structure and human relationships. Males learn the rules of human organisations and interactions from sport. Sport is one of the most important socio-cultural learning environments in our society and now that women are finally being recognised for more achievements and an increased role across the board in the sporting arena, they can use sport to their advantage in the workforce.

Right now however, women who don’t know the written and unwritten rules of sport are at a disadvantage in understanding business models of organisation based on sport. How important is it that our daughters learn the same rules as our sons? It’s critical. The most important of those rules are:

  1. Teams are chosen based on people’s strengths and competencies rather than who is liked or disliked.
  2. Successful players are skilled in practicing the illusion of confidence.
  3. Errors are expected of people who are trying to do new things. The most important thing is never make the same mistake twice.
  4. Loyalty to your teammates is very important.
  5. “I will” equals “I can”
  6. In a hierarchical organisation, your boss (the head coach) gives the orders and the employees (players) follow the head coach’s instructions.

All of these factors become important when transferring skills from the sporting arena to the workforce. Whether it’s overcoming failure, understanding your role within an organisation and working amongst a team, playing to your strengths and staying loyal to those you work and play with, these will all place you in good stead to have a productive working career. With the help of sport either competitively or for recreation, women will be able to further harness these skills and transfer them seamlessly into their 9-5 life. Another reason why sport is so important for women.

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Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Celebrates Success

The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF)—the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports— celebrated the biggest night in female sports at its 36th Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards gala in New York City.

WSF Founder Billie Jean King was among the high-profile attendees who honoured the top nominees; representing 18 sports and six different countries.

28th+Annual+Women+Sports+Foundation+Awards+F1rur7g7PDwlBillie Jean King

The Women’s Sports Foundation’s coveted 2015 Sportswoman of the Year award was presented to Serena Williams (Tennis) in the individual category and Carli Lloyd (Football) in team category. The award is bestowed upon athletes who have distinguished themselves in their sports field through their supreme athletic performances over the past year.

Eleven-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden (Track & Field, Cross-Country Skiing) was honored with the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award. McFadden is an extremely important role model for young women as someone who has defied all the odds since being a little girl to become one of the most dominant Paralympians in both track and field and cross country skiing, while also advocating for equal access to sport and facilities for students with disabilities.

tayana-mcfadden_2323125bTatyana McFadden

The Billie Jean King Contribution Award, an honour that recognises an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution to the development and advancement of women’s sports, was awarded to Dr. Don Sabo, whose pioneering research is a catalyst for the advancement of girls and women in sports and uncovers the lifelong benefits of participation on their health and well-being.

The CEO of WSF, Deborah Slaner Larkin, had this to share, “The Women’s Sports Foundation is dedicated to creating leaders by giving girls access to sports. With support from the community, who is on the ground activating, to the corporations who support our mission by making it financially realizable, we are able to collaborate, educate and advocate for more opportunities and exposure for girls’ and women’s sports.”

Sport Has No Gender echoes the thoughts of Ms. Larkin and believes with more promotion of such award ceremonies and recognisation of achievements in women’s sport, participation and coverage the world over will increase for the betterment of all involved.

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Top 3 Barriers to Sport for Women and Solutions

Confidence is very important to instill in young girls and it is a quality many female athletes exemplify both in and outside of their sport. Sports build leadership and teach girls how to work together as a team. Both social athletes and Olympians demonstrate how important it is to believe in themselves and their team in order to achieve greatness, which every woman should do. By practicing and spending time honing their craft, they can truly be all that they dream of no matter what their gender, race, or background. However, their exists many barriers to women participating in regular sport and recreation. We have identified 3 major reasons, and provided potential solutions to get more women involved:

Barrier: Time Constraints and Availability (both work/family related)

Solution: Get active with your family when you can. Sporting activities as simple as backyard cricket, running around the park, swimming at the local pool or bushwalking are easy to do as a family and will help women with time constraints fit in some sporting activity in their free time. Furthermore, look for programs with daycare centres or that allow the participation of younger children, to further breakdown the idea that children become a barrier to getting involved.

Barrier: Limited Social Sporting Options and Inflexibility

Solution: Explore your local area for parks,walking trails and activities. By searching the local paper, you will also often find different sporting organisations offering ‘come and try’ days that give you a taste of a variety of sports to help you decide if you’d like to continue with one. You’ll be amazed at the amount of all-female activities out there.

Barrier: Peer Pressure and Self-Consciousness

Solution: Be a role model yourself. With self-affirmation comes a greater sense of respect and self-worth and you will feel better about yourself. Furthermore, sport will bring about greater fitness levels and help you make more friends, so while there may exist some immediate self-consciousness about what you are doing and how your skills are in relation to others, persistence will pay off and the self-consciousness will fade away.

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Gracie and De Silvestro gear up for Mount Panorama

Bathurst 1000: Australia’s most famous Motorsport Race

And, for the first time in nearly 20 years, this prestigious race will have an all-female driving team comprised of Australian Renee Gracie and Swiss-born Simona De Silvestro.

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As the only all-female team in the 2015 Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama in central-west New South Wales, they are facing both sceptics and supporters, buy they are taking on the challenge with gusto and say they do not mind the attention.

De Silvestro told ABC Grandstand during the week, “Being a female team here … I think if we can show that we can get the job done it’s going to be really good and that’s what we’re here for.”

Promoters have dubbed the women the ‘supergirls’ but others have been less than complimentary. Three-times Bathurst winner, Dick Johnson, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper said he did not think the pair would even go close to finishing.

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Four-times Bathurst 1000 competitor from the 1980s and now a local motorsport commentator, Brian Nightingale, commends women drivers. “The girls themselves are all very talented. They’ve got to do the same licensing procedure as the men, and they wouldn’t get their licence to race at Bathurst if they were not up to standard.”

While they have come to motorsport from different paths, the pair says they were both children who enjoyed the outdoors and played a variety of sports growing up.

De Silvestro and Gracie agree their race is about chasing down a dream and they’d like to impart that advice to other girls. “If you have a dream and you’re passionate about something go and do it and don’t be scared,” De Silvestro said.

“Racing may not be the first sport a girl thinks about but you know, if she loves it just go for it.”

Sport Has No Gender wishes the girls the best of luck this weekend as they take on the mountain, and we’re sure they can give plenty of the boys a run for their money!

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Sport for Fitness: Tips from Katie Williams

Katie Williams is a 22-year old young woman from the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia, that is a former world youth champion and current open Australian champion in the beach flags sprint event as part of surf lifesaving. As such, she is a driven, determined athlete and a great role model for anyone looking to get the best out of themselves in the sporting arena, either professionally or socially. Katie stopped by to share her top sporting and fitness tips with Sport Has No Gender:

katie“When playing sport for a fitness or development goal, do it for yourself so you can be the best version of you! I’m not saying if it’s a team sport to go out there and be selfish or lack teamwork, but just be aware of the goals you have set for yourself and strive to achieve them the best way possible in a team environment.”

“Write yourself some motivational self affirmations, to stay motivated. Whether it’s feeling up to exercising or eating well, our mental game will determine our successes.”

“Use sport as a chance to exercise with friends, and often having people around you will motivate you more than just participating by yourself. If you are just playing sport socially in no competition or anything, try and change the session up each week, as our bodies thrive on change and its good to keep the body & mind guessing. If you’re fully engaged with one sport, just mix up your training to get the best results.”

“Use a diary or journal to record sessions and plan future sessions, which will help you to realise what you enjoy best and what your body enjoys doing. For those more serious, also adding in food intake is a great to monitor nutritional needs & keep an eye on what foods agree or disagree with you. I have certain foods that work wonders with my body & I use them to my advantage on race day.”

“Plan your week around your training, make training a priority and stick to your personal promises, this will give you a sense of accomplishment.”

“Invest in a good Heart rate monitor, its a great to track your fitness adaptations, & keeps your motivated watching your heart rate decrease as your fitness level increase.”

Katie’s tips will help young women everywhere get involved with sport and harness its benefits, as well as motivating you to achieve any fitness or development goal you may have. For more information on Katie’s successes and upcoming events as she prepares for an illustrious open world title in 2016, please check out ‘The Mermaid Society’ blog in which she is promoted and an active contributor, at http://themermaidsociety.com.au/

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No Money Back Special on this Statistic

In a contemporary society that constantly yearns for further equality across all facets of life, here is a question for you:

Q: Which of the following received more media coverage between 2012-2015?

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Horse Racing

or

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All Women’s Sport Combined?

Any ideas? Well the answer, ridiculously, is horse racing.

The truth is that coverage of women’s sport has actually gone backwards in the last four years, and a recent report by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) reported that in Australia, women’s sport accounted for only seven percent of total television coverage and six percent of written news coverage. It is expected that this figure will get lower with the ABC announcing earlier this year the axing of their W-League national football and WNBL basketball coverage due to funding cuts.

The sheer fact that horse racing received more television air time than women’s sport between 2012 and 2015 is a fact that Australia, as a proud sporting nation that prides itself on sporting excellence and participation, should feel ashamed about.

Everyone seems to know about gender bias in sport but yet little is ever done to improve it. There are a number of reasons why, the main being that the Australian media and sponsors have this misconception that the public do not want to know about women’s sports, which is becoming increasingly untrue of this contemporary equitable society.

With the advancements in sport science, coaching and management women’s sport has become a better product and sporting bodies, the Australian media and sponsors should realise this. Unfortunately, poor marketing leads to poor media coverage, which leads to lack of sponsorship, which leads to poor media focus and thus this vicious cycle starts again, under the guise that the public are not fussed about hearing about women’s sport.

The reason why women’s sport coverage has gone backwards is because events like horse racing are more heavily promoted, and Australians need to influence those covering sport that women’s sport is more important than the four legged kind, in order to affect change.

It’s a bet that I hope pays off in the very near future.

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Sporting Role Models: Get Around Them

Role Models.

There is always talk about what a role model constitutes and their importance to every individual in society; mainly related to whose values, successes and behaviour they wish to emulate as they progress through life.

A role model is a person whose behaviour, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people. (Wikipedia)

In today’s world, young women are bombarded with a constant influx of images of external beauty, which can cause them to question themselves and how they should look, but what they need are the strong, confident, healthy female athlete role models. Peer pressure is difficult for girls of all ages but female athletes can help offset that by encouraging girls to participate in sports and maintain a healthy active lifestyle. Too often do we see role models portrayed in the media as mainstream high-profile celebrities that quite often have little to offer in terms of life lessons, correct behaviour and strong core values. With studies showing girls as young as 9 can develop a self-consciousness about their bodies which leads to them dropping out of sport, this needs to change.

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Stories like that of Jessica Watson completing a solo round-the-world sailing expedition against all odds, to Lauren Jackson coming from the small town of Albury in southern New South Wales to becoming in her prime the most damaging female basketball player on the planet, or someone like Ellyse Perry who not only dominates female cricket on an international scale but continues to dabble in football at a national level such is her talent, need to be further promoted and celebrated in the media to encourage young women to get out and be active.

Role models for sporting participation do not just need to come from the elite ranks however, as parents, coaches, teachers or even older siblings often have a profound effect on a young girl and how they view themselves and their chosen sport. These close bonds with young females can empower them to continue to pursue sporting success or just harness its recreational benefits throughout life.

Having a role model in sport is an important part of social learning that allows girls to emulate the positive aspects of attitude, work ethic, and social dynamics and provides them the opportunity to envision themselves in the role of coach, leader and/or athlete that they may not otherwise have. Our page will continue to bring more of them to light!

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5 Benefits of Playing Sport for Under-18 Females

It is common knowledge that regular participation in physical activity is beneficial for anyone’s mind, body and spirit. But for young women in Australia, where sporting participation is at a decline, their daily dose of endorphins are either coming from other areas, like a jog around the block, or not coming at all – which leads to further unhealthiness in the community.

So why play sports? The Women’s Sports Foundation has discovered that sports offer some extra benefits for girls in addition to having fun and getting fit. Here are my top five from the list:

1. Girls who play sports do better in school.

You might think that swimming lessons, netball training, or any extra-curricular sport you participate in will take up all your study time, but research shows that girls who play sports do better in school. Exercise improves learning, memory, and concentration, which can give active girls an advantage when it comes to the classroom.

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2. Girls who play sports learn teamwork and goal-setting skills.

Working with coaches, trainers, and teammates to win games and meet goals is great practice for success later in life. Being a team player can make it easier to work with others and solve problems, whether on the field or in the classroom, or at your part-time job.

3. Sports have hidden health benefits.

Some benefits of sports are obvious — like improving fitness and maintaining a healthy weight. But girls who play sports are also less likely to smoke and have a reduced chance of getting certain cancers and osteoporosis later in life. Sure, you can get these benefits from any type of exercise, but if you have trouble getting to the gym, there may be more incentive to show up and play if you know your coaches or teammates depend on you. Accountability becomes an extremely crucial motivator for young people.

4. Playing sports builds self-confidence.

Girls involved in sporting activity feel better about themselves, both physically and socially. It helps to build confidence when you see your skills improving and your goals becoming reality. Other esteem-boosting benefits of sports participation include getting in shape, maintaining a healthy weight, and making new friends.

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5. Exercise can cut the pressure.

Pressure is a big part of life. Playing sports can help you deal with it, since exercise is a natural mood lifter and a great way to relieve stress and fight depression. Plus, when you are on a team, you have friends who support you both on and off the field.

All these benefits can be harnessed by getting involved with sport in your local community. Sport Has No Gender encourages increased participation in order to reap as much positivity from sport into your life, to propel you forward into a happy, healthy adulthood.

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