Gender Equity in Sport Part 1

Gender Equity in Sport I have loved watImage 1ching the recent Women’s World Cup soccer– I realized that I am a sucker for BIG events, I despise watching Premier League soccer, and would prefer to do my own root canal rather than watch the NRL or AFL, but there is something about the theatre and  drama of international tournaments that I am just a bit of a sucker for. As well as BIG events, I am also very passionate about gender equity in sport.

As a sports student at university, I came to understand first hand about gender equity  (or lack of), when my fellow students and I did our FA Coaching certificate. The women on the course were  taken aside and told that we were only able to do the coaching qualification on the proviso that we never expected to be able to coach. Not only could women not coach soccer, but women were not able to play in any Football Association sanctioned game.

At the time I did a little deeper research into the history of women’s sport and found some interesting perspectives. Until recently women were not able to participate in sports such as Pole Vault at the Olympics as it was believed that it would   “displace the ovaries”.

Back to the Women’s FIFA World Cup….  Rita Panahi of the Melbourne Herald Sun posted a bit of a click bait article about the FIFA Women’s World Cup commenting on why should anyone watch when the women were not as good as the men…. “So why would I watch the WNBA when I could watch the NBA? Or women’s football instead of the AFL? Why would I or anybody want to watch an inferior product?”  RITA PANAHI Well Rita, people are drawn to the theater of sport for many reasons other than just watching the best. This was clearly demonstrated recently in my viewing of the Kiama and District Primary School Cross Country event. Times seem to be significantly slower than the equivalent Olympic track event, and there was not a Kenyan in sight, however the crowds loved it. Strangely, I see the same every Saturday morning when herds of families line the sidelines of Under 8 soccer events through out Australia. We don’t really care that they are an inferior product to the English Premier league, we are watching for many other reasons. In fact by Rita’s rationale we should only be interested in Grand Slam tennis matches than involved the current world #1 and #2, and only ever tune into Olympic finals. Encouragement of high level women’s sport is critical, not only to encourage and support excellence for female athletes, but also to encourage participation amongst women at all levels, critical for health, self-esteem and empowerment

Sylvie Roussel-Janssens

Sylvie is one of my favourite friends and most favourite artist .Ocean.png
We met at an YMCA exercise class when we were both called out of class at the same time because our babies were being disruptive. Those babies are now 25 years old and enjoying success in their respective fields –  check out @alecjanssens and @jackdruce.

Sylvies passion and commitment to her art is an inspiration, and I am proud to have many pieces of her work. My favourite is a piece that Sylvie personalised for me, based on our recent trip to the Grand Canyon. Sylvie did a great job of combining some of my images and text into the piece.

Her campaigns have been inspired by issues pertaining to the environment and metal health.

To see Sylvies work, check out


6 things I’ve learned from Coastrek

This week I participated in my second Fred Hollows Coastrek fundraiser ~ a great event and a great charity to support.

What I learnt:

  1. A motivated group of lycra clad women is a pretty powerful force when working towards something good. It was a really hot day, it was a really long way, but such a positive atmosphere – apart from a very brief hissy by an unnamed team mate at 18km (you know who you are…). I guess women like to do good, and they like to talk and hang out with other women. 9 hours 19 minutes is a pretty good forum to chat. I imagine it would be a pretty different atmosphere if it was a male focused event.
  2.  It’s really hard to walk on soft sand. In preparation I did some sand walking , but living here we are blessed with the compacted sand of the north end of 7 Mile Beach, which is really just a nice alternative to the hard road. The soft sand through Dee Why and Curl Curl made me realise that people living on the Northern Beaches must have pretty hearty calf strength, and maybe some achilles tendon issues.
  3. Fred Hollows Foundation has done such a great job of fundraising by breaking down the $25 saves a persons sight. I think this gives people permission to feel comfortable to donate their $25 or multiples of with a clear sense of where their money is going. Congratulations on making $2,520,393.
  4. Sun and heat makes physical stuff really hard! I walked a longer Coastrek in 2014; 50 km rather than 30km. It was really tough work, we walked overnight and the last 10 km was torrential  rain. Walking through the heat of the day is a whole different challenge. Kudos to our team mate who made it even thought she had clearly stated ahead of the event that she didn’t like 1. hills 2.soft sand and 3.heat – what a champ!
  5. What an amazing city Sydney is! You can be with in viewing distance of the CBD yet still find hidden beaches that you can only access via a hearty walk, or boat.
  6. Exercise amnesia is a curious thing – I’m now sitting here planning my 50km journey for next year. Yet, only 48 hrs ago, I was  totally dehydrated, struggling  to move, and ready to knife anyone who ever suggested doing this again…..